Cllr Neil Murray, Portfolio Holder for Economic Growth presented a report to update on the progress made within the portfolio in the last year. The following areas were covered:
- Western Growth Corridor
- Parking and Transport
- Heritage and Tourism
- Planning Policy
- Park Ward Regeneration
- City Centre
Invited members’ comments and questions.
Question: Members asked what was meant by ‘enjoying high quality speed broadband’ and whether the houses in the Western Growth Corridor would be fitted with solar panels?
Response: Officers wanted to offer cheap environmentally friendly energy.
Comment: Members were surprised that the members briefing for WGC was pulled recently and it would be good to have another one arranged to keep members updated.
Response: New members had not had the benefit of being able to attend the briefing that took place last year. Originally the City Council had been working with Taylor Whimpey but they withdrew. The City Council then tried to enter an agreement with the Scarborough family but this could not be reached. Lindums then offered the Scarbourough Family more money for the land and were successful in purchasing this. The City Council and Lindums were now working together as land owners for the delivery of the WGC. The Land Owner Delivery Partnership was signed in April 2019 and planning application process had started but was a very large application.
Question: Members asked whether more investment in cycling routes in the City would be included in the Transport Plan?
Response: The Transport Strategy covered more than Lincoln and covered parts of North Hykeham. The Strategy was going to County Council’s Scrutiny Committee in December. This document was to include more emphasis on cycling and walking. This Strategy was originally going to be shared with partners in September. This had now been delayed so the members briefing was cancelled and re-arranged for 11th November 2019. If the Strategy was not received by this date then the briefing would be moved to reflect this. Amendments would not be put forward to County Council until the members briefing had taken place in order for members to have an input. The new Central Car Park was built to replace the one that was originally there and there was a need for parking as a lot of people still drove cars. In future years this would be reviewed. Car parking income was very important at the moment for the Medium Term Financial Strategy. Safe roads and cycle routes were being looked at. Officers were looking at working with other Local Authorities to help with the model shift and getting people to use more public services.
Question: Members asked how the Park Ward Regeneration Scheme was going as no data had been seen and a report hadn’t been received.
Response: Officers were working with businesses on improving shop fronts and had £1.7m to contribute towards this. The Residents Parking Scheme went down well with residents living in the area and they voted in favour. Vernon Street and Princess Street residents had also voted for a Residents Parking Scheme.
Question: Members asked whether the WGC would impact the New Homes Strategy and the Local Plan?
Response: New homes were incorporated in the Local Plan and money received from Homes England helped to accelerate the building of new homes. If consent for the WGC was received in February then building could begin on helping to deliver the Housing Strategy.
Question: Part of the regeneration project for Park Ward was about skills and getting residents into work. Members asked how this was progressing?
Response: Cllr N Murray agreed to speak to Paul Carrick tomorrow regarding this.
Question: Members stated that they would like to see some statistics on what was trying to be achieved at the start of the Park Ward regeneration project and how these compared to what had been achieved so far.
Response: A lot of work was around building relationships within the community and to help build up community spirit. The neighbourhood team was doing a good job in difficult circumstances but there was still a lot more to do.
Question: Members asked what could be done to improve the Hermit Street area?
Response: Officers were looking at a small development that was used a lot by criminals and how this could be turned around to make it a place people would want to live.
Question: Members asked whether we could do anything as landlords if we knew that some of our tenants were drug dealers?
Response: Officers were working with the Police to try and solve some of these issues. The process needed to be looked at again. If tenants were to be evicted by the City Council and made homeless then we would have a duty of care as a Local Authority to house them. Police gathered evidence for drug dealers but the forensics took a while to come through so this slowed the process down.
Question: Members asked what officers ideas were for the Town Fund Scheme?
Response: The City Council were able to apply for a bid of up to £25m. Once the prospectus was released in the next few weeks a bid would be written and would need to be submitted by the end of March. One of the requirements of the BID would be to show a huge community and business input.
Question: Members asked when they would receive an update briefing for the central market?
Response: There were some funds available to sort out the cornhill kiosk and the square first. The market had not come forward as the costs of refurbishing the market were not commercially viable to do. Officers were looking at all potential options available but there needed to be an holistic approach to markets within the city. An agreement had been made with Lincoln Big so that they would deal with events in the city and City Council would deal with markets. This could potentially bring in funding that could be put back into the market. A report would be produced next year with proposals for this.
Question: Members asked what the City Councils position was for the Usher Gallery as it had been leased to Lincolnshire County Council?
Response: The Usher Gallery was built using funds bequeathed to the City Council by James Usher for use as an art gallery. The City Council did not have available heritage budget to operate this facility or fund it direct.
Question: Members asked why there was no mention of climate change in the report?
Response: Climate change was captured within the Economic Growth Portfolio but would be covered in the Remarkable Place Portfolio.