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Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Place) Minutes    

Date: Tuesday 23 February 2021       Time: 06:00 PM       Location: Virtual Meeting       Contact:

Attendance Details

Present:Councillor Debra Barlow, Councillor John Coxhead, Councillor Vaughan Hopewell, Councillor Ann Norman, Councillor Dave Saunders, Councillor Philip Shields, Councillor Stuart Wallace, Councillor Martin Wright
In AttendanceAttendees
In Attendance:Martyn Saxton, Fardad Amirsaeedi, Matt Wright, Katie Mills, Gabriella Wright, Councillor June Stendall
ItemDescriptionBackground InformationDecision

Apologies were received from Councillor Wetton.


A question was received from Mr Shlomo Dowen. The Chair invited Mr Dowen to speak.
Mr Shlomo Dowen addressed his question to Councillor Philip Shields as the Chair of Overview & Scrutiny Place Committee could you confirm that the reference paragraph 1.13 of the Draft replacement Statement of Community Involvement to ensuring all planning documents, background studies and responses to consultation are available on our as in Mansfield District Council website, means that Mansfield District Council intends to enable more visitors to the website to access all consultation submissions from residents, interested parties, statutory and non-statutory consultees and so forth including correspondence between the applicant and planner with respect to all planning applications as has been previously been requested by the Forest Town Community Council and is indeed common practice across the country to other local authorities.

The Chair thanked Mr Dowen and stated he was more than happy to answer the question as Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Place Committee.
The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) will be consulted on for a six week period and all of the documentation published on the planning policy pages of the website at the start of the consultation period, there is a work plan in place to ensure that this meets the relevant timescales and the ICT department have been notified of the consultation period so that they are aware of what they need to do. Everyone on the Local Plan database ‘objective’ will be notified of the consultation period and will be able to make representations electronically via the consultation portal, all representations made by all interested parties including members of the public and statutory consultees will be made available for visitors to the website. Consultee representations to planning applications are available to view on the Councils website. The query regarding access to all consultation submissions with regard to planning applications will be considered as part of this consultation.
Mr Dowen asked if he could have a supplementary question. The Chair accepted a supplementary question.
Mr Dowen’s supplementary question was: would it be open to the Overview & Scrutiny Committee to call for the version of the draft proposed replacement Statement of Community Involvement that goes out to Community consultation to make it explicit that the correspondence between applicants and planners will either be made available on the website or will be made available to anyone in response to a Freedom of Interest Request.
The Chair of the Committee thanked Mr Dowen for the question and stated that he felt that this had already been covered within his previous answer. Just to reiterate it is part of the Scrutiny process, this Scrutiny Committee is part of this process and we will be making recommendations going forward within the consultation and anything that comes up as a matter of course will be put to the Portfolio Holder for him to have a look at. It is ultimately, the Portfolio Holder’s responsibility to make the decision.
The Chair stated that if Mr Dowen had any further questions to please email him. The Chair then thanked Mr Dowen for his input.


The Minutes were proposed as a true record by Councillor Martin Wright and seconded by Councillor Vaughan Hopewell.


Minutes a true record of the meeting.

The Senior Regeneration Officer advised that he would provide an overview of the report.
The Officer referred the Committee to section 3.1 – Centre Cities report. The Centre for Cities Track regarding the districts current economic activities and the challenges it faced. From this report the Council is able to understand by comparing to other assessments where Mansfield stand in relation to the rest of the country, in terms of people in employment. Mansfield is expected to bounce back very quickly once the lockdown measures start to be reduced, the Council now have some dates as to when this is likely to occur and we can plan to work to that.
The Officer referred to 3.1 (page 6) and stated that within this section is a link to the Centre for Cities website provides a Mansfield data in great detail. This link would provide Members with the opportunity to see how Mansfield compares against other cities as well as national standards.
The Officer then referred the Committee to 4.1 Town Centre Retail reopening safety initiatives (in progress). The Committee was informed that the Council was working very closely with Town Centre partners, the Town Centre team and the Mansfield BID, and Community Safety and Neighbourhood Officers in order to ensure that the business support is there for the Retail sectors throughout all of Mansfield Town Centres across Mansfield to ensure that they reopen safely from 12 April 2021 which is the Government stipulated timeline for non-essential retail opening.
As part of that town centre support the Council are working with the Chamber of Trade and Mansfield Ashfield 2020 in order to assess additional retail webinars to support them both in terms of their marketing their digital support, risk assessments and other forms of safety orientated activities that they need. The Council was also working closely with the N2 partners across the country and other districts in order to ensure that collaboration on the approach going forward.
The next step following this was to launch an event to inviting a number of different town centre retail businesses to collate views and direction along with our partner delivery partners such as the BID etc.
The Officer then referred the Committee to 4.1.1 Business Grants.
Since the last scrutiny meeting where it was advised that there was only £30,000 left until the scheme ended that he was pleased to advise that as from 1 April 2021 an additional £79,000 will be added to the fund.
The Committee was informed that the start-up grants would be increasing from 1 April 2021 from £1,000 per month to £2,500 per application.
The Officer referred to 4.1.2 Growth and Recovery Strategies, in terms of priorities there are 3 core priorities: Low Carbon Growth, Productivity and connectivity and inclusion.
These priorities meet with the Council’s own approach and priorities going forward. With regards to Low Carbon the Council are working with Procurement to promote this, the Council is also encouraging businesses to be more efficient in the way that they access and utilise services and products.
The district’s connectivity and inclusion was well above average connectivity in terms of WIFI and 4G than the national average
The Officer referred to 4.1.3 Covid 19 Local Restrictions Grant payment summary that the Council are currently working on. The Local Restrictions and the Discretionary Fund had closed on 12 February 2021. There were 2520 grants at a total value of £4,388,999 awarded.
The Officer then referred the Committee to 4.1.4 and advised the Committee that the Council continue to work with enterprise partners to deliver business training and advice to local businesses for the support that they need. There is a list within this report that identifies the support offered to businesses.
The Officer advised the Committee that recently the Manufacturing Growth Programme had been extended into Nottinghamshire which is a £500,000 investment for specific support for small businesses in the manufacturing industry to access specialist advisory support. That is now in force and the Mansfield District Council Website will be updated to reflect this.
The Business Start-Up enquiries have increased. The Inflation rate remained low which is favourable for the consumer and businesses.

Councillor Saunders asked how the Officer the single Regeneration was working as opposed to the Joint Regeneration that we had with Ashfield.
The Officer responded that it was working very well.
The Chair commented that he was very pleased about the £2,500 for Business Start-up as the Chair felt that this would be utilised well and thought that this would encourage more start-ups.
The report was for noting by the Committee and was accepted by a unanimous show of hands.

Briefing Paper

Appendix 1 - Recovery Strategy

Appendix 2 -Cities Outlook
Report accepted for noting.

The Senior Regeneration Officer provided a summary of the report commencing with the Future High Street Fund, a bid was submitted on 5 June 2020 which comprised of 5 projects for the Town Centre that included senior living accommodation, student development, a market place redevelopment, a private owner stimulus fund and access and linkage funding.
The total bid was for £25M out of a total programme value of £37.3M. The Council received notification on Boxing Day 2020 that unfortunately that bid was unsuccessful citing reasons of value for money which was related to residual land value. Therefore those projects which had been prepared had been placed on a project pipeline that the Council continue to look for future funding applications for.
The Officer referred the Committee to Item 4 – Towns Fund. A Towns Fund Investment Plan Submission was made by Mansfield District Council and Making Mansfield Place Board on the 30 October 2020.
A total a request of £25,826,000 as part of a total programme cost of £31.6 M. This comprised of 12 projects across 5 key themes that were developed through stakeholder groups on the Place Board. The 5 themes were: accessibility and infrastructure, town centre projects, health and wellbeing projects, skills projects and identity and branding of Mansfield.
The submissions were successful. The decision on that application was delayed until March 2021.
Mansfield District Council recently submitted a request to Government for £120,000 of revenue funding to support in the development of business cases for each project.
The baseline and prioritisation work of the Masterplan has been completed. The Vision in Principles document has been completed. The Consultants Allies & Morrison are working on options appraisals for key points across the town identified through the Masterplan. The Council anticipate a completed draft Master Plan to be circulated for consultation in early summer.
The Committee were referred to Item 6 Townscape Heritage Initiative and the Committee was advised that the £1.3M Project for Leeming Street and surrounding areas had seen a decrease in take up since the pandemic due to the reluctance of shop owners to put investment in to their properties until the High Street reopens.
The Regeneration team have continued to work with the businesses to maintain engagement with those owners and market the project. Ensuring that the team keep in contact with them by having events such as a 10 week radio campaign. The Council expect that the National Lottery Heritage Fund will extend the project in light of Covid as this delay in take up is seen in other areas too. Further information will be supplied on this potentially at the next briefing. The Committee was advised that at Stockwell Gate all of the site survey work had now been completed. The works are set to start on site in mid-March 2021.
The developer has signed up three specific operators to take up sites that include. Tim Hortons, Taco Bell and Dominos it is anticipated that work on the development on this site will happen soon.
Item 8 – the Urban Greening Project – the Committee was advised that this was a part of the Towns Fund Initiative run by the Government. The Council was awarded £1M to develop the project across the town. Via was hired as a Consultancy to undertake feasibility and options work across a selection of sites in the town.
Funding was prioritised to look at 5 key sites to be developed into green spaces: Walkden Street Park area, Bus Station Subway, top of Stockwell Gate Gateway, Stockwell Gate Bridges and the Town Hall Car Park.
The Council expect site mobilisation on the Walkden Street Park to occur in the summer.
Councillor Wright queried what had happened to the money to refurbish the shops and what percentage of the total cost of a project does the fund match?
The Senior Regeneration Officer responded that the funding was for capital works to reinstate heritage assets. The owner of the property contributes 25% of the costs and the Council would contribute 75%, however, this must be an approved set of works that would reinstate the historic fabric of that building.
Councillor Wright queried if Council would give the shop owner a list of required works prior to the offer of funding. Would a shop owner be able to do a small proportion of work i.e. paint the shop front?
The Officer responded that the funding would only be offered for works that were on a pre-approved Schedule of Works. Prior to the bid to the Heritage Lottery, the Council had employed a Consultant to survey each property. A Schedule of required works was prepared from this. If the required work was on that list then it could be funded, but if it wasn’t it would not be funded.
Councillor Wallace queried if the consultancy referred to in the report was an additional cost to Mansfield District Council?
The Officer responded that the cost was paid for from the £1 M Urban Greening Fund.
The Member asked if the plan would be presented for Members review or would this only be at Executive level?
The Officer responded that he would come back to the Committee on this.
The Member further queried 3.1 the Future High Street Funds what do you think went wrong with this in terms of the Bid?
The Officer responded that he would come back to the Member on this.
Councillor Barlow had questions in relation to 4.7 stated Place Board had approved Mansfield District Council to resubmit a revised Town Investment Plan in the event that the offer of funding was less than £25M. The Member queried if the expectation was that the offer would be less? Then the Member asked for clarification on the line that stated we will have the opportunity to also re-submit the Future High Streets Fund – is this the fund that was refused or is this a different one?
The Officer replied that there was no expectation to receive less however, the wording throughout the whole process was always that local authorities could bid up to £25M However, it is not known what the final figure will be. If an offer was made by the Government of less than £25M then it would go back to the Place Board to discuss that offer and see what we want to re-submit. There is a project list of all projects therefore if the Council were to resubmit in the event of receiving less than the £25M offer this would be reviewed. The Member queried who had made the Priority listing.
The Officer responded that the priorities that the Council had given the Place Board were the Council's recommendations. The prioritisation happens through the Place Board with the Council as a member of the Place Board.
Councillor Saunders commented that there are a number of consultants that have been mentioned. Was there capacity for this to be done in house?
The Member further queried who sat on the Place Board

The Officer responded that regarding the in house work and the use of consultancy the Officer would report back to the Members with a response. Regarding the query on the Members of the Place Board all of the Members of the Place Board can be found on line. All Minutes are published from the Meetings and can be found on the Mansfield District Council website. The Officer advised that he would circulate a link to assist in locating this.

The report was accepted by the meeting by a unanimous show of hands.

Briefing Paper
Report accepted for noting.

The Planning Policy Team Leader advised the Committee that the Statement of Community Involvement sets how the Council will consult on planning matters. There was a motion agreed by Council on 25 November 2018 to assess current methods and channels used to consult on Planning Applications and the Local Plan.
The report sets out what evidence and events had took place to update the SCI, but that as a result of the Covid 19 pandemic there was a requirement for the SCI to be updated to allow the Council to consult on planning documents.
The SCI has been updated to take into account of current social distancing measures, and the other main change is how the Council will deal with petitions moving forward. At the moment everyone who signs a petition is registered on the Local Plan Database, and going forward there will be one representation with however many signatures are included as part of that petition. Also there is some very clear guidance of the language that the authority will except as part of any representations received, and how the Council will accept those going forward.
Councillor Wright had a question related to Item 3.4 is which stated the need to take reasonable steps to ensure that sections of the community that do not have internet access are involved and consider way to achieve this., In the new draft 2021 SCI at point 3.20 Council are removing the ability to comment on Planning Applications over the telephone, which seems to contradict the aims of 3.4.
3.5 The Council is going to consult. The Member queried who they would consult
4.1 Next Steps that stated – the finalised document will be presented to the Portfolio Holder for Regeneration. A Member questioned whether the Portfolio Holder will accept the current draft statement and then will consult afterwards.
The Officer responded that in answer to the last question about delegation it was to allow some very minor changes to happen to the SCI such as spelling correction or grammatical errors. If there were any significant changes in the way that we would consult then it would have to come back to the Committee.
The Officer responded that it was to go out for Consultation to adopt unless there were any significant change. The Officer responded that the Head of Planning and Regeneration was authorised to make some very minor changes to the SCI such as spelling corrections or grammatical errors. If there were any significant changes in the way that the Council would consult. Then it would be resubmitted to the Committee.
Councillor Wright stated that what he was referring to were not typos, the Member was referring changes since the 2017 SCI, and gave examples.
In the new 2021, 9.12 site notices will no longer be used in most cases as in 2017 only sometimes. . This was not a typo but a major change. As was not consulting neighbourhood forums. Councillor Wright did not support that site notices would no longer be used or neighbourhood forums consulted. A number of the Members were also not happy with the document.
Councillor Saunders, felt that on the point of changing typos or grammatical errors that permitted amendments should be written into the document. The Member stated that it would have been beneficial to have received a tracked copy of the document to show any amendments so that Members could see changes clearly
Councillor Norman felt that the Consultation should be delayed until 12 April when the libraries were anticipated to open.
The Officer responded that this would be the document that the members of the public would be consulting on and that members of the public could make representations to the changes of the SCI and these could then be brought back to the Committee if needed if there was a major change.
The Officer responded that the Consultation would take place as part of the Portfolio Holder report but the Portfolio Holder can see the representations that have been received.
The Officer stated if there were any further amendments a tracked version document would be produced. If feasible.
The Head of Planning and Regeneration stated that when documents have been sent out in the past he did not recall any tracked documents being sent out. However he was happy to consider this in the future. In response to Councillor Wright the Officer stated that he did taken on board the comments regarding consultation and in terms of how the document came back to the Portfolio Holder, he advised that the SCI would come back to the Portfolio Holder for Regeneration for approval of the final document.
Councillor Coxhead asked if there would be a consultation on any adoption or any alteration within that SCI document.
The Officer stated that the SCI document that had been presented to this Committee would be consulted on in full, everyone on the objective database would be notified by email or letter and would be able to make representations on line or in writing and it would also be promoted through the Council social media channels. Officers will keep on track any changes during the lockdown as to what can be done. If and when we are allowed hard copies will be placed in libraries
Councillor Hopewell asked when will the public consultation begin and how long would it last for?
The Officer responded that there was no set date for the consultation to start.
Councillor Barlow commented that she attended the Workshop to encourage public participation to assist planning to be more user friendly. The Member did not feel the document demonstrated this.
The Officer stated that the SCI has not been drafted to take into account all of the comments that came out of the workshop primarily due to Covid 19 and social distancing requirements. But these will be taken into consideration as part of any review as we begin to open up again.
The Head of Planning and Regeneration clarified the comments from the Members as there was the need for the document to go out to Consultation, once that consultation was finished then it would go back to the Portfolio Holder to decide on the final version. Members were supportive of this approach.
The Chair then asked for someone to propose the recommendation as previously stated.
Proposer Councillor Wright
Seconder Councillor Saunders
The Committee agreed the recommendation with a unanimous show of hands.

Briefing Paper

Appendix 1 - Draft Statement of Community of Involvement
Recommendation from the Committee:

That there was the need for the Decision to go out to Consultation, once that consultation was finished then it would go back to the Portfolio Holder to decide on the final version.

Report accepted for noting with recommendations.

The Planning Policy Team Leader provided a brief summary of the Local Development Scheme Report.
The Committee was informed that the Local Development Scheme was a timetable of documented which had been updated to include the Mansfield District Local Plan, Town Centre Plan, Gypsy and Traveller, SPD and Affordable Housing SPD.
The report was accepted for noting without comment by a unanimous show of hands

Briefing Paper

Appendix A- Draft LDS
Report accepted for noting without comment.

The Chair informed the Committee that he proposed the forming of an Anti-Social Behaviour Work Group in conjunction with the Overview & Scrutiny Communities Committee, and other members outside of these Committees who are interested in scrutinising and reviewing recommendations to improve anti-social behaviour in the Mansfield District.
This report to the Committee outlines some of the topics to be covered within this Working Group and the Committee was asked for any input on any other issues related to Anti-Social Behaviour that they would like to incorporate.
The Topics to include:
The definition of Anti-Social Behaviour, dog Fouling, street cleansing, anti- social behaviour in parks, the role and remit of the Anti-Social Behaviour Officer, review of the procedures to report Anti-Social Behaviour, review of other Local Authority recommendations for dealing with Anti-Social Behaviour to establish if these recommendation could work in Mansfield, financial implications which would be passed to the Overview and Scrutiny Corporate Committee for scrutiny.

Members of the Committee were advised that the Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Place) had recently held a meeting with the Chief Executive Officer and the Head of Health and Communities, where it was agreed that a piece of scrutiny by the Members on Anti-Social Behaviour would benefit the Council.
The Chair asked if there were any other topics that the Committee would like to add to those already outlined above, also to see if the Committee were happy to take this on as a Work Group as part of the Work Programme.

Councillor Saunders queried it this Committee would be looking to bring in the Police or Wardens.

The Chair advised that the Working Group would seek reports from the Police and Wardens to review performance and delivery of what we have at the moment what works and what needs to be improved. The review of the procedures of how people report anti-social behaviour. The Chair felt that the paper work was not very user-friendly. Just to review the whole area, including warden service. To review with the aim to reduce the amount of anti-social behaviour in the district.

Councillor Barlow advised that there was a 3 month Project in Warsop Parish working with the Police and Outreach on a similar project. The Member hoped that any knowledge gained out of the Warsop Parish Project could be brought back and shared with this Committee.

Councillor Hopewell was in agreement with the Chair and proposed Fly Tipping be added to the list of anti-social behaviour to be scrutinised. Councillor Hopewell volunteered to become a member of the Working Group.

The Chair advised the Committee that an email would be sent out to all Councillors to seek Members of the Working Group.

Councillor Stendall asked if value for money would be looked in reference to Wardens.

The Chair responded that it was not around the value for money it was around the performance delivery. Questions to be asked being are we trying to run a service that cannot be run efficiently with the numbers that we have got, what are the alternatives? This could be recruit more wardens, which would have cost implications to the Council.

These are the topics that I would like to have discussed at the Work Group that would make recommendations, and these would go to the relevant Portfolio Holders.

The Chair welcomed all comments that had been received. This will be discussed at the Overview & Scrutiny Communities Committee on 16 March 2021. Following this an email will be sent out to all Councillors to find Members interested in taking part in the Working Group outside of the Overview & Scrutiny Place and Communities Committees.

The report was accepted by the meeting by affirmation at the meeting.

Report of the Chair of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Place)
Report accepted for noting
Published 08/03/2021 15:42:03