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Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Place) Minutes    

Date: Tuesday 22 March 2022       Time: 06:00 PM       Location: Council Chamber       Contact:

Attendance Details

Present:Councillor John Coxhead, Councillor Vaughan Hopewell, Councillor Brian Lohan, Councillor Daniel Redfern, Councillor Philip Shields, Councillor Stuart Wallace, Councillor Martin Wright
In AttendanceAttendees
In Attendance:Martyn Saxton, Fardad Amirsaeedi, Geoff George, Gabriella Wright, Councillor Ann Norman, Councillor June Stendall
ItemDescriptionBackground InformationDecision

Apologies were received from Councillor Dave Saunders who was substituted by Councillor Mick Barton, and apologies were received from Councillor Wetton.

There were no Declarations of Interest.

There were no questions from members of the public.

The Minutes of the meeting held on 1 February 2022 were proposed as a true record by Councillor Wright and seconded by Councillor Redfern.

The motion was accepted by the Committee.

Minutes of the meeting held 1 February 2022
Resolved that the Minutes of the last meeting were a true record of the meeting held on 1 February 2022.

The Chair asked Members of the Committee if there were any questions on the Business Investment, Economic Regeneration and Recovery Briefing Paper presented to the Committee by the Senior Regeneration Officer (Enterprise and Investment).
Councillor Wright had a query related to an item within the report related to the Community Renewal Fund, and asked what the lessons learnt were. What wasn’t the Council successful with?
The Senior Regeneration Officer (Enterprise and Investment) informed the Committee that the intention of the fund was to cover business, skills, employment and visitor economy and culture. The winning pitch was almost entirely based on business support, skills and employment. Mansfield District Council submitted an application around visitor economy and culture. The Council would act as the lead project on this for Mansfield, Newark and Bassetlaw working in partnership. However, out of the 31 applications, only 9 were shortlisted which covered all of the aspects including the one that was submitted by Mansfield. As a result of this Mansfield District Council was seeking feedback on this. The Council would use the feedback received as a lessons learnt for applications going forward.
The Chair asked if there was a breakdown of the type of business that had applied for the Business Start-up Growth and Shop Front Improvement Grants.
The Officer informed the Members that a breakdown was available and that would be supplied to the Committee if required.
The Chair confirmed that this information was required, the Chair and Committee would like to receive this information before the next meeting and requested that this be emailed out to the Committee.
The Member further had a query related to the Best UK Region to start a business what types of business was Mansfield attracting and what was being done to capitalise on this.
The Officer advised that the information on the best UK regions to start a business was based on ONS information and created by a third party. The Officer would contact them to try to obtain the details on the types of business Mansfield was attracting.
The Officer informed the Members that the promotion of the Grants was through the Chad and press releases. That enquiry rates for Business Start-ups had increased from 25% of all enquiries (pre Covid) to 50%. The number of people looking for vacant shops in Mansfield had increased however due to this the number of vacant shops now available had been reduced.
Councillor Redfern queried what the criteria was for rejection of grant applications
The Officer responded that rejections were only given for significant reasons which included, a business case that was not viable, or failure to supply a complete set of information. As the panel were unable to make a decision without the necessary information being supplied. Another reason for rejection would be that the business was not in a positon to fulfil the contract or were too profitable and therefore did not qualify for the grant.
Councillor Lohan queried if the Start-up Grants were available for the whole of the Mansfield District.
The Senior Regeneration Officer confirmed that they were available to the whole of the Mansfield District. The Officer reminded the Members that the grants were not just for retail businesses but for all businesses.
The Senior Regeneration Officer advised the Members to sign up for the Business Newsletter as this contained the details of the grants available and details and promotion of any new grants to become available.
Councillor Wallace asked if the Grants were available to Charities.
The Senior Regeneration Officer advised the Committee that they were, however they were not available to the Charity Shops.
The report was accepted for noting by the Committee.

Briefing Paper
That the report be accepted for noting.

The report on the Regeneration Update was taken as read by the Committee and the Chair asked for questions from the Committee.
Councillor Redfern queried the reason that Berry Hill Park was chosen as the Destination Park, and not a park that was more centrally located and more accessible to more of Mansfield.
The Regeneration Programmes and Project Manager advised that the selection of the Berry Hill Park had been through a prioritising process required as a consequence of the final award from Government, which included Members and the Place Board. The Officer advised that further information would be brought to the Committee.
Councillor Wallace asked for more information on SMART Mansfield.
The Regeneration Programmes and Projects Manager advised that it was the installation of a district wide LoRaWAN (long range wide area network) infrastructure and associated applications. The Members were informed that it was a platform upon which a range opportunities and applications can be built.
The Officer advised that once it had been established across the whole of the district, there was an opportunity for a wide range of services to benefit, offering data and information to be collected via the installation of a range of sensors. The opportunities of the network would be promoted within the Council and with a wide range of partners and agencies such as the County Council, health and educational organisations.
As examples, sensors could be installed to monitor and manage people flow, identifying hotspots / coldspots of activity across the Mansfield District, manage traffic flow and monitoring of congestion and traffic conditions through to monitoring waste bins to identify when they were full.
The Officer informed the Members that Mansfield is at the forefront of this new and exciting technology.
Councillor Wallace asked who would install and manage this network and who would have access to the data and information collected by the sensors.
The Officer confirmed that given its specialist nature, the roll out of the network would be through a third party, and this would have to be procured. A number of options are being explore regarding the operational side including by the Council or through a contract. The data would be managed through the Council and those partners setting up the specialist sensors.
The Officer advised that once the project reached the stage where it was operational, privacy and data protection controls will be in place.
Councillor Wright had a query related to the shop front improvements grants. The Member suggested that a press release, in the Chad and on Social Media giving information on the grants.
The Officer agreed with the Member and advised that this had been done previously. Covid had affected this significantly. The Officer advised that he was sure that there would be opportunities for this to be promoted again.
Councillor Redfern wanted to understand the statistical metrics that were being used to identify low productivity and connectivity (3.12). The Member asked if any of those areas had yet been identified.
The Officer advised that Mansfield had been identified as one of the priority areas through the Government produced metrics. The background information would be shared with the Committee.
The report was accepted for noting by the Committee.

Briefing Paper
That the report be accepted for noting.

The Chair introduced the Draft Work Programme to the Committee. The Chair suggested that a review of the generic items and their frequency be considered, whether they should remain in the Work Programme and be removed if other items needed to be included. The Chair also asked the Members for their ideas on new topics for Scrutiny as part of the Work Programme 2022-2023.
Councillor Wright wanted to understand the reasons why Walkden Car Park had taken so long to complete. Councillor Wright agreed that two monthly reviews was too often and felt that this should be amended to every three months.
Councillor Stendall suggested that a scrutiny of the car parks include looking at the lease of Walkden Street, comparing other authority car parks and how they were run.
Councillor Redfern requested that Waste Collection be entered into the Work Programme for 2022-2023, particularly the levels of efficiency and missed collections, the member wanted to identify the factors behind this and look to resolve that issue. The Member would also like to be updated on the response times for missed collections.
The Chair suggested that this could be a Working Group to review the whole issue of Waste, including fly tipping, size of litter bins, bulky waste collections etc.
If it was more cost effective to give free bulky waste collections versus fly tipping removal costs. A Working Group that would be open to all Members. A review of the waste strategy was needed
Members were informed that there had been a change in policy that when Recycling bins were full residents were no longer permitted to take Recycling waste to the Recycling Centre.
Councillor Coxhead advised that the Committee had received answers from the Officers on these issues and asked for clarity on what was wanted.
The Chair responded that about a Waste Strategy. The Member accepted that the Officers responded to the questions, but felt Members needed to have more input. It would be to scrutinise the whole waste strategy.
Councillor Redfern stated that the reason that questions were being asked repeatedly was because the issues kept re-occurring and was important to understand what factors were causing the issues to not be resolved.
Councillor Wallace felt that the need for student accommodation needed in Mansfield needed to be explored.
The Head of Planning and Regeneration informed the Committee that this currently formed part of the Town Centre Masterplan, Clumber House having been identified as a possible place for student accommodation. The Officer felt that rather than have a separate topic added to the Work Programme at this stage, it would be better to monitor how this developed. The Head of Planning and Regeneration advised that the Work Programme could be added to at any time, that it was a flexible document.
Councillor Redfern requested that the topic of the Town Fund be added to the Draft Work Programme 2022-23.
The Head of Planning and Regeneration advised that the Town Fund Project was at a crucial stage of creating business cases and that this had to be the priority at the moment, however, this could be looked at retrospectively in the future.
Councillor Stendall suggested that the Members go out into the Town and survey people on how effective the waste service was to identify any issues and establish views. Members could visit their wards and survey the litter bins in their Wards and bring the information back to the Committee.
The Chair agreed with Councillor Stendall’s comments.
The Chair felt that more information on Delegated Decisions would be useful for Members.
Councillor Lohan queried if the scrutiny would be on Decisions that had been made or were to be made.
The Chair advised the Committee that he would like to scrutinise a decision before it has been made to assist the Executive in making the decision.
The Chair asked the Members to email through any ideas concerning topics for inclusion in the Work Programme.
The report was accepted for noting.

Report of the Chair of Overview & Scrutiny Committee (Place)

Draft Work Programme 2022-2023 (Dates to be confirmed)
That the report be accepted for noting with comments.
Published 31/03/2022 10:25:10