(To receive an update)
The Chair introduced the Assistant Director, Growth and Regeneration and the Portfolio Holder for Assets and Finance who had been invited to attend the meeting to provide an update on the Town Centre Strategy and on Town Centre Assets.
The Assistant Director Growth and Regeneration reported that in November 2018 Cabinet approved the production of a Town Centre Strategy and a programme management approach to the delivery of town centre activities and projects and a budget associated with that.
It was reported that certain projects were already underway, such as in the Enterprise Quarter with the Tamworth Assembly Rooms and at the Castle. It was further reported that new projects were starting to go through the project management approach, with Executive Leadership Team management and Scrutiny Committee oversight.
The Assistant Director, Growth and Regeneration reported that consultation was underway on a Design Supplementary Planning Document. This document would provide design guidance to those who would be considering activity which would result in physical change within the built environment.
Engagement activity on the development of the town centre had started with a video from the Leader of the Council which had reached more than 15000 people on Facebook.
Councillor Ford joined the meeting.
The Committee discussed and sought clarifications in the following areas:
· In terms of the consultation on the town centre regeneration, as well as promotion via Facebook there activity on other social media platforms, and there was also an article in the Tamworth Herald. The intention was to direct consultation traffic to the Tamworth Borough website and the area where members of the public could share their ideas;
· The level of engagement on the more technical consultation on the Design Supplementary Planning Document;
· It was reported that currently desktop work only was underway on the Gungate project and the Council was not yet ready to consult externally on this project. It was expected that a report on progress made with the desktop assessment, and what the opportunities could be, would be available in June 2019.
The Committee thanked the Assistant Director, Regeneration and Growth for his update, who then left the meeting.
The Portfolio Holder for Assets and Finance provided an update on the Council’s assets in the town centre and the asset management strategy and the financial capital asset strategy. It was reported that currently work was underway to assess the Council owned assets in the town centre and how these related to our wider financial strategies. At the moment work in this area was in development and at a planning phase, and it would not be until later in the year that there would be sufficient information available on which to make some decisions.
It was reported that work would be undertaken to look at all Council owned assets individually, and as a wider overall picture for the authority. Some work had already been undertaken on vacant properties and options. Once there was an overall picture of the state of all assets and the opportunities available for all properties and costs associated, it would be possible to consider the best solution for the authority. This would then be looked at in terms of the wider town centre strategy. It was clarified that the asset management strategy would be looking at all Council owned assets and not just those within the immediate town centre.
Further clarity was sought on the criteria which would be applied in making decisions on the future of such Council assets. It was reported that once there was clarity on the condition of all assets, the opportunities and a complete set of information available on all the assets, the criteria could be established. It was further reported that the broader government agenda on town centres had also developed and any decisions would be undertaken in this different environment.
The Portfolio Holder for Assets and Finance reported that he expected that the review of assets would be completed by December 2019, and according the Committee requested a further update from the Portfolio Holder at that time.
The Committee thanked the Portfolio Holder for his update.