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Agenda item

Programme of Portfolio Holder Attendance.

Report of the Elections and Members’’ Services Officer.

Minutes:

Councillors Clarke and Payne attended the committee to answer a range of questions, itemised below, that Members had submitted in advance of the meeting.

 

Questions addressed to Councillor Clarke

 

       I.       Could you please provide the committee with a breakdown of the budget for the construction and enhancement of Gedling Country Park?

Councillor Clarke provided an overview of current developments taking place, and a breakdown of current expenditure for Gedling Country Park.  He outlined how the park had evolved from the former Gedling Colliery into a 240 acre public recreational green space. The park was brought about in 2013/14 when the authority signed a lease with the Harworth Estates (the land owners) to develop the site. Since February 2014 major developments have included the installation of new footpaths, making safe the old colliery drainage works and manholes, installation of boundary fencing and engineering works to maintain the main header wall on the Ouse Dyke, enabling efficient drainage of the site.  A new access road and car park for Spring Lane completed the development for public access.  A new temporary toilet block will be sited next to the car park on Spring Lane and in August/September a new children’s play facility will be installed.  Councillor Clarke explained that the funding for the park was provided through a range of sources, the Homes and Communities Agency, Growth Point Funding, Public Realms Funding from Gedling Homes and Section 106 Open Space Funding from local developers. The breakdown for the budget is:

 

Gedling Country Park

£

Total Budget for Scheme 2012/13 - 2016/17

1,229,000.00

Actual Expenditure to 31/03/16

944,802.48

Funded by:

S106 Contributions

671,553.41

Anesco Contribution

23,249.07

Growth Point Grant

250,000.00

944,802.48

Budget 2016/17 (Carry Forward from 2015/16)

284,200.00

Funded by:

Harworth Capital Receipt

200,000.00

S106

84,200.00

284,200.00

Gedling Country Park Visitors Centre

Budget 2016/17

900,000.00

Funded by:

Revenue Contribution

500,000.00

Borrowing

400,000.00

900,000.00

 

Members requested information regarding the catering facilities and the visitor centre. Some of this information is commercially sensitive and still under consultation, Members were informed that the visitor centre would be fully accessible by the people with a disability.  It is hoped that in the future there will be a contribution from the Heritage Lottery towards some of the initiatives in the park.

 

   II.             What progress has been made on the combined authority bid?

Initially 19 authorities were working together to take forward this bid.  Since developing the bid a number of authorities have withdrawn. Erewash Borough and Amber Valley District are now uncertain about the bid, Bassetlaw District Council are looking towards inclusion in a deal in the Sheffield region.   It is envisaged that there are now 13 authorities to take the bid forward.

 

    III.       Could you outline the benefits of having Gedling Borough Council Members who are also County Councillors?

Councillor Clark told Members that it gave Gedling Borough influence when decisions were taken by the County Council that affected the borough.  It enables Gedling Members, on the County Council, to get to know what is happening that could affect residents of the borough, and enables members to lobby on residents behalf and meet officers.   Benefits include a Gedling representative on the Joint County/City Health Scrutiny Committee, and it is especially useful when road safety, community safety and environmental issues, for example flooding, arise. Connections made at the County Council have been very helpful when taking forward the Country Park and the Gedling Access Road.

 

   IV.       Can you please give me an update regarding the Country Park?

This had been covered in the answer to question I.

 

Questions addressed to Councillor Payne

 

 I.             What progress is being made in the identification of options for a customer contact point in Carlton and the surrounding areas, (recognising that the 5% progress could have changed in Quarter 4)?

Members were informed that a report was scheduled to go to Cabinet 28th April 2016 but was held back, on the day the papers were due to go out, because the agreement with the Police became uncertain and, without their commitment, the basis on which to go forward would change operationally and financially. The Police, had after initially, after agreeing everything with the Council, effectively ‘pulled out’ so that they could consider ‘other options’, possibly co-location with Carlton Fire Station. The Police have now received cost information for the Fire Station option and have updated their business case to include the additional option. The revised business case is now out for consultation and will be discussed at the next Transformation Board on the 13th July and Force Executive Board on the 18th July.  Location at the St Georges Centre is still the recommended option. 

The report set out proposals to establish a customer facing outreach hub at St George’s Centre in Netherfield and to establish the necessary budgets and authorise officers to progress arrangements.

Continual dialogue, at chief officer level, is attempting to bring the matter to point where it can proceed, ideally in partnership with the Police.  However, should the Police choose another option the Council needs to go ahead on some sort of basis without the Police as a primary partner.

 

II.             What progress has been made to improve Civic Centre face to face reception arrangements?

Options in support of improving the physical appearance of the reception were set out for consideration in December 2015. The report included cost options that ranged from approx. £40k to £90k.  Subsequently, following the departure of Gedling Homes, the Council has utilised the reception space left to deliver the Taxi Licence Service; this has reduced the footfall to the main reception area and improved customer service for the Taxi Drivers. The ‘customer journey and experience’ are part of the deliberations regarding the improvements, using the old Gedling Homes reception space has contributed to that strand.

In addition, the DWP, Arnold Job Centre, who are co-located at the Civic Centre, have approached the Council with a view to changing the reception Service. Whilst their preferred outcome might be to remove or reduce the current reception arrangements, this is potentially not the Councils ideal position. Before any major expenditure is incurred,  there will be consideration of alternative options, members of the public still like a ‘face to face service and, although the internet is a useful channel of communication; if Gedling Borough is to provide ‘caring services’  reception services need to continue.

Members were reminded about the closing date for the consultation for the Local Planning Document.  Should members of the public need assistance completing the consultation officers were available to assist.

 

Future Portfolio Holder Attendance

Members were informed that Councillor P Barnes, Portfolio Holder for the Environment would be attending the next meeting on the 19th September.  Members would be contacted nearer the date to identify areas for examination.

 

RESOLVED:

 

To note the information and thank Councillors Clarke and Payne for attending the Committee.

Supporting documents:

 


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