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Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Place) Minutes    

Date: Tuesday 15 June 2021       Time: 06:00 PM       Location: Civic Centre        Contact:

Attendance Details

Present:Councillor John Coxhead, Councillor Vaughan Hopewell, Councillor Daniel Redfern, Councillor Dave Saunders, Councillor Philip Shields, Councillor Stuart Wallace, Councillor Martin Wright
In AttendanceAttendees
In Attendance:Martyn Saxton, Fardad Amirsaeedi, Gabriella Wright
ItemDescriptionBackground InformationDecision

Apologies were received from Councillor Andy Wetton.



Councillor Martin Wright nominated Councillor Stuart Wallace, Seconder Councillor Vaughan Hopewell.

A unanimous show of hands approved Councillor Stuart Wallace to be elected as Vice Chair.

Councillor Stuart Wallace was elected as Vice Chair.

The Minutes were proposed as a true record of the meeting by Councillor Martin Wright and seconded by Councillor Saunders.

The Minutes were accepted as a true record by a unanimous show of hands.


Minutes of the last meeting a true record of the last meeting.

The Head of Planning and Regeneration informed the Committee that this was a regular update report on regeneration work and funding streams. The Committee was informed that £12.3M had been allocated to Mansfield District Council for the Town Investment Plan against the six projects identified within the report.
At the end of March 2021, the Heads of Terms funding offer was accepted and the MHCLG allocated £70K to support the development of business cases. The final sign off in the process would be via the Section 151 Officer in Mansfield District Council’s role as Accountable Body.
The Officer referred to 3.6 of the report the Levelling up Fund, which was announced in the March Budget, this had a maximum of three bids and the first round would close on 18 June 2021. The Committee was advised that areas had been ranked from 1 to 3. Mansfield was identified as one of the areas with the highest need at position 1 and therefore Mansfield qualified for £125,000 to support the bid.
The Officer referred the Committee to the Townscape Heritage Initiative (3.11) where Mansfield District Council had secured funding through the National Heritage Lottery Fund. This involved over 40 properties within the Town Centre, Conservation Area and Leeming Street Market Place. The Committee was informed that the pandemic had affected work taking place there.
The Officer advised that there was a need to seek an extension of time for the spending of the funding due to Covid.
The Officer referred the Committee to the Urban Greening Project advised that this project was progressing in terms of the design on the five schemes listed in the report (3.16). The Town Centre Management Team lead the next stage of work. A Contractor had been appointed to undertake detailed design works. It was anticipated that work would commence in early autumn 2021.
Councillor Saunders asked what paragraph 3.4 West Nottinghamshire College – Future Tech, Knowledge & Skills Exchange, was in reference too.
The Head of Planning & Regeneration responded that this was in reference to the Chesterfield Road site it was with reference to the possibility of this becoming a bespoke technology skills and knowledge exchange centre.
Councillor Stuart Wallace stated that the area down from Stockwell Gate was looking extremely tired and he queried if the Council was working with local business to tidy the area, and queried what was in the pipeline to improve the area.
The Officer advised that through the Urban Greening Project the Council were working to improve the Stockwell Gateway Walkway area.
Councillor Saunders queried if an internal market had been considered in the past as an alternative to the Market Place. Would it be possible to complete a feasibility study on this?
The Head of Planning & Regeneration was unaware if this had been reviewed in the past. The Officer said it was something that could be looked at if the Committee wanted to, but that there would be a number of factors to be considered.
A Members discussion followed concerning the options available on this for consideration, including the use of empty retail stores and the inclusion of a canopied area that would create an outdoor market under cover.
Councillor Stuart Wallace informed the Committee that the question of an internal market had been raised in the past and the response had been that the Market holders did not want an internal market. The Member advised that he had personally spoken to a couple of stallholders who had confirmed this. However, the Member advised that this could encourage new traders.
The Chair suggested that this could be a topic for the Work Programme as a feasibility study.
Councillor Vaughan Hopewell asked what action was being taken to encourage retail businesses to Mansfield.
The Head of Planning & Regeneration stated that although there had been a contraction in the number of retail premises, there was still a desire for Town Centre retailing. The new hotel site and the Rosemary Street site were very positive steps that would encourage new retail and business into Mansfield.
The Chair queried the time scales for the projects within the report.
The Officer advised that, he would check if there had been any further updates and provide an update to the Committee.
The report was accepted for noting by a unanimous show of hands.


Briefing Paper

Report accepted for noting.

The Senior Regeneration Officer (Enterprise and Investment) presented a summary of the Business Investment, Economic Regeneration and Recovery Report.
The Officer referred the Committee to 3.1 Community Renewal Fund and provided the Committee with the background concerning the Community Renewal Fund. The CRF forms part of the shared UK Prosperity Fund, which was in the same portfolio as the Levelling up Fund. It was the latest fund that has come through to support various initiatives. The fund was a pilot that would be running until 31 March 2022.
The CRF supports Nottinghamshire’s the priority one districts. The three priority one districts include Mansfield, Bassetlaw, Newark, and Sherwood. The fund was set up for the Council’s to work in collaboration to deliver support in terms of investment on skills, support of local businesses, communities, the Place and people into employment. The CRF also support communities that have been particularly affected by the pandemic.
The Council as a district authority was supporting all deliverers who would be bidding; also, Mansfield District Council was submitting a bid to deliver on various themes detailed in the Appendix. The application deadline was 14 June 2021 and this Mansfield District Council Application was submitted to the lead provider Nottinghamshire County Council. The assessments were being completed.
Nottinghamshire County Council would select the successful bids, which would be submitted to the Government on the 18 June 2021.
A response was anticipated in July/August 2021. The scheme completion and delivery would be by March 2022. Thirty-seven applications had been received. Only a handful of these would be selected.
The Officer then referred the Committee to the Mansfield District Council BID submission details on page 19 -20. If the BID was successful, the district would benefit from more events, creative projects, cultural initiatives and increased footfall around Mansfield Town Centres. The BID value submitted was for £3.2M and covered all three districts.
The Officer then referred the Committee to 3.2 Business start-up, vacant shop and shop front improvement grants. The enquiry rate had increased in the past two months since the lockdown restrictions eased. It was reported that there had been an increase in property searches in the area. More businesses were looking to invest. Most were independent retailers. Mansfield District Council have grants available to support retail. It was reported that there were 17 applications being processed an unprecedented increase in any one district.
The Officer reported that applications had been received from companies not in need of support resulting in two refusals on the applications. The Officer stressed that the grants were available for viable businesses that were in need of financial support.
The Officer advised the Committee that the Town Centre was being supported by two Ambassadors, which had been recruited on a temporary basis. The Ambassadors were visiting businesses on a daily basis to identify any support issues including operating in a Covid secure manner.
The Ambassadors have achieved 70 sign up for the newsletter for future support.
The Officer advised the Committee that the Footfall Figures for the Town Centre, illustrated the difference between the similar period last year and now, following the ease of some of the lockdown restrictions. It was reported that figures were still below that of pre-Covid, however, the increase in footfall was significant. In some weeks, the increase was reported at 300% since March 2020. This continues to increase as the restrictions lift.
Councillor Saunders had a query regarding the CRF (Community Renewal Fund) and asked if Mansfield District Council had to support all of the Bids that had been submitted. Should Members be contacting the County Councillors regarding this? Was there something that Members could do to support this?
The Senior Regeneration Officer advised that this was not necessary as whoever was selected Mansfield would benefit all equally as all of the providers had submitted a vision and strategy for delivery of support that would benefit Mansfield, Bassetlaw and Newark and Sherwood.

Councillor Saunders queried if the money had to be spent by 31 March 2022.

The Officer confirmed that it did.

There was a unanimous show of hands to accept the report for noting

Briefing Paper

Appendix 1 - UK Community Renewal Fund

The report was accepted for noting
21/26WORK PROGRAMME 2021-2022WORK PROGRAMME 2021-2022

The Chair asked the Committee if they had any items that they would like to be added to the Draft Work Programme 2020-2021. .
The Chair advised the Committee that he had received a list of suggestions from Councillor Stendall. The Chair asked the Committee for their thoughts.
The Chair advised that there were a few items that he would like to be added to the Work Programme; that included Section 106/viability/affordable housing a review of this and a look at the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) so that there is a better understanding of what this is by comparing these.
The Chair would also like to be added the implementation of a Tree Strategy for TPO’s for enforcement, planning issues etc. If it was feasible to do this.
The Head of Planning and Regeneration stated that in terms of Section 106 Viability, as an issue in Mansfield. It is not very often that the authority can get full contributions out of the scheme. The Officer provided some background on this he stated that there were applications that went to Planning Committee where there were contributions requested by consultees.
The Developers submit viability assessments to state that the development will not go ahead because the scheme was not viable and they cannot meet some or all of the contributions requested by Parks, Housing or CCG.
The Council analyse the Viability Assessments independently these are scrutinised at the Developers cost. The outcomes then reported back to the Planning Committee.
The Head of Planning and Regeneration stated that it was feasible to get a speaker to present to the Committee to explain the process. The speaker would be able to advise on CIL too. The Officer stated that there was scope within the Work Programme to look at this and understand it.
The Officer advised that, there was a Parks and Open Spaces Strategy in Neighbourhood Services, there was not a tree specific one. The Tree Strategy could have two parts to it Council’s own trees and the private tress that had the TPO’s on.
A provisional TPO is used to safe guard the trees, as when a Developer looks at a site the first thing that is done is to fell all of the trees. The Officer advised that there was a resource issue to review all of the TPOs. However, this was something that could be explored.
Councillor Wright felt that it would be of benefit if the Planning Committee were invited to listen to the speaker as well.
The Chair was in agreement with this.
Councillor Coxhead queried if there was a TPO on a tree and it was felled if the developer would be required to plant two trees to replace it.
The Officer responded that the Developer would be expected to replace the tree with two trees.
The Officer stated that the Parks Policy does include that where the Council fells a Council owned tree that they would be replaced at a rate of two to one.
The Officer explained that under TPO unless the tree was dangerous it would be expected that it be replaced.
The Chair felt that it was important to have a Tree Register to be able to ensure enforcement but was aware that this would be a massive task
The Officer stated that there was a TPO Register and all of the areas that have TPOs were on a computer layout, so that the Council could search to find a TPO for consultations etc.
The Officer stated that it was a criminal offence to fell a tree under TPO.
Councillor Saunders had two items to be added to the Draft Work Programme :i) the feasibility study over the next 12 months on an internal market; ii) the housing company the Member would like to see future report to understand the position. The Member was aware that a report was presented every 3 months at Council but it was always retrospective and the Member would like to have a detailed strategy as to where the company was going and the way forward.
The Officer wondered which Committee that would fall into as it could be under Communities or Place. The Officer would report on which Committee this would be under the remit of. However, it was anticipated that it would be Place.
The Chair asked if all were in favour of adding the additional items to the Work Programme.
Proposer Councillor Redfern, Seconder Council Wright
A unanimous show of hands accepted the Draft Work Programme with additional items identified.

Report of the Overview & Scrutiny Chair

Appendix 1 - Draft Work Programme 2021-2022

(i) That the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Place) Work Programme for 2021/2022 (Appendix 1) be approved.

(ii) That further issues be suggested and approved for inclusion in the work Programme that are within the Committee’s remit

The Head of Planning and Regeneration provided a summary of the Planning Update Report. The Committee was advised that the Briefing Paper provided an update to the Committee on the preparation documents set out within the Council’s adopted Local Development Scheme, which was approved at Full Council in March 2021, and the additional evidence based documents Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment Review. The Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) document was included that was discussed in the last meeting. The update on the SCI document was that the Consultation started on 11 June 2021 not on the 4 June as per the report this was a late amendment. The Decision would be for the Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth as this is not an Officer decision.
The Officer advised that the planning documents were guidance that inform policy in the local plan. The timetable had identified some SPD Supplementary Planning Documents one being the planning obligations this is in progress and would be brought to the Committee in the autumn.
Also the Affordable Housing Document that did come to Committee however, unfortunately due to the pandemic it was not possible to complete a full consultation on, with the existing SCI and the implementation of First Homes as a new form of affordable housing. This has meant that the document has to be reviewed again, and then brought back to the Committee prior to going out to consultation on the final draft.
The Officer advised the Committee that the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELA), which was a requirement of the Government, was commencing.
The HELA would be a list of sites that may be suitable for housing in the long-term. This was not planning permission and did not guarantee the sites would be used. The last HELA was completed in 2018 and therefore another one had to be commenced.
The Officer then informed the Committee that the authority had to complete and maintain a Five Year Housing Land Supply. At the Council/s current housing requirement of 325 dwellings per annum for the district, the Council currently have a 6.5 years supply of housing land, which is in excess of the required 5 year Housing Land Supply. The Council was therefore in a good position at this point in time.
Councillor Wright queried Section 3 of the SCI asked after the consultation had been completed as per paragraph 3.2 “Following the consultation all representations made will be reviewed and any necessary changes made to the documents being presented back to the Portfolio Holder for Regeneration” The Member queried who deems the changes were necessary.
The Officer responded that they would be suggested changes. Comments would come in during the consultation; Officers would then analyse them and then provide Officer recommendations based on those comments it would then come back to Members to decide. It is no different to any other consultation that takes place.
Councillor Saunders queried the value of affordable housing where money is accepted in lieu of affordable housing. When will this be reviewed?
The Officer responded that was responded to in 4.2 under Planning Obligations. The Planning Obligations document sets out monetary values this document was being reviewed, with planned consultation in August 2021.
Councillor Coxhead asked following the SCI consultation which Members would see the draft document.
The Head of Planning and Regeneration advised that the SCI document would come back to this Committee for comments then onto the Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Growth for the Delegated Decision.
The Member queried the Draft Work Programme Schedule regarding Planning Updates.
The Officer advised that the timetable had not yet to be debated and voted upon. The Programme would be amended to add an item earlier in the timetable if it was necessary to do so.
The Chair had a comment related to the SCI consultation events that had been arranged two in Mansfield and one in Warsop. The Member stated that he was disappointed that a Consultation Event had not been scheduled in Mansfield Woodhouse of Forest Town.
The Officer responded that if Members wanted this that there was time to look into this.
The Chair thought that this would be a good idea and should be looked into.
The report was accepted for noting by a unanimous show of hands.

Briefing Paper

The report was accepted for noting.
Published 29/06/2021 10:38:48