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Contact: Carrie O'Connor
Declarations of Interest
Members and Officers are reminded to make any declarations of pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial interests that they may have in relation to items on this agenda and are reminded that they should re-declare their interest before consideration of the item or as soon as the interest becomes apparent.
Members and officers should make their declaration by stating :
a) the item they have the interest in
b) whether it is a pecuniary, personal and/or prejudicial
c) the nature of the interest
There were no declarations of interest made.
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 10 June 2020 (attached).
The Minutes of the meeting held on 10 June 2020 were approved by the Subcommittee as a correct rocord and would be signed by the Chairman as soon as possible following the Council’s resumption of normal working.
This review considers all aspects of the council’s current tourism support functions. The report summarises the recommendations and findings made in the strategic review of the tourism service by Blue Sail Consulting and makes recommendations for the future delivery of tourism services by the council.
The Subcommittee will receive a presentation by Adam Bates of Blue Sail, in conjunction with a report from the Group Head of Economy.
The Chairman welcomed to the meeting Mr Adam Bates, Blue Sail Consulting, who had been appointed to undertake a review of the Council’s tourism function. The review had considered all aspects of tourism support offered by the authority and its recommendations would be put forward to Cabinet for consideration and decision; the Subcommittee was being requested for their views which would be forwarded to Cabinet to assist their deliberations of the matter.
Mr Bates gave a presentation which covered his brief for the review and what Arun should be doing to fit in with others in marketing, management, and development to improve the offer in the District and to increase staying visitors over the dominance of day visitors as at the present time. Tourism was an important sector for the local economy and, whilst there was a good variety, i.e. coast, towns and countryside, it was felt that what was on offer was good not great and that there was a modest impact on tourism spend and jobs. To encourage visitors to stay, better quality accommodation would be required and experiences provided that were worth travelling for. The offer therefore needed to be renewed, new markets attracted, year round value for money provided and higher value jobs encouraged.
Members welcomed the report from Mr Bates, which they had found interesting and informative and then participated in a question and answer session, summarised as follows:-
· Dominance of day visitors and how best to encourage people to stay in the district to increase the spend. Mr Bates stated that, fundamentally, Arun had two broad markets i.e. families and couples and that generally speaking people were looking to take short breaks due to changing work patterns. Rural accommodation was increasingly popular, e.g glamping, and for a significant economic impact Travel Lodges/Premier Inns and mid range accommodation was required.
· Concern was raised relating to the resourcing of the plan within the existing resource envelope and the three year time frame. Members were advised that, although there was quite a lot that could be actioned immediately, focus should be given to providing 5 or 6 things that could make the most difference and biggest impact.
· Working with partners was highlighted and particular mention was made to the Littlehampton Harbour Board. Mr Bates agreed that the most should be made of the beaches and River Arun and the opportunities for water based activities, offering a good variety would help get visitors to come and stay longer.
The Chairman thanked Mr Bates for his comprehensive review, useful presentation and attendance at the meeting and invited him to leave if he so wished.
The Chairman then invited the Group Head of Economy to present her report which set out the background to the review, its remit and the four strategic recommendations for the Council’s tourism service contained therein. Support and any further comments were being sought from the Subcommittee, which would then be indicated to Cabinet when it considered and decided on the matter at a future meeting. ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
A planning application was submitted for several new commercial pitches on and near Littlehampton Seafront in line with previous instructions from Members.
Development Control Committee has deferred this application and requested that Littlehampton Regeneration Sub Committee consider the proposals and make recommendations to them in respect of the planning application.
In consideration of this matter, Councillors Cooper and Mrs Cooper spoke to the item.
On 26 May 2020 the Development Control Committee considered an application for temporary commercial pitches on the Littlehampton Promenade near the river and at Banjo Road Coach Park. Members had deferred the application on several grounds and particularly wished to receive the views of the Subcommittee prior to determination.
The Subcommittee now received a full and comprehensive report from the Senior Regeneration Officer which addressed all the issues raised by the Development Control Committee in respect of the proposal. Members were advised that the overall aim was to boost the local economy through the enhancement and improvement of the Littlehampton Seafront offer for its visitors. This would draw in more visitors, encourage them to stay longer and spend more, thus increasing footfall which would in turn benefit all the businesses located in the vicinity and, as a footnote, support the aims of the Strategic Tourism Review which had been considered as a previous item on the agenda.
Members expressed a number of concerns in the course of consideration of this matter which revolved around:-
· Potential to replicate facilities/services to the detriment of existing businesses
· Potential sale of alcohol which would exacerbate an already serious problem
· Potential for unattractive units and furniture at the relevant sites
· For safety reasons, paddle boarding or water activities should not be allowed near the river due to it being so fast flowing and dangerous
The Senior Regeneration Officer was able to assure Members that any commercial activities that took place at the two sites could be regulated via conditions attached to an Operating Schedule as drawn up by the Property & Estates Department, in consultation with Legal, to ensure that control was secured on what was being provided. She was also able to advise that the Town Council was keen to utilise Banjo Road and that the Town and District would work together to ensure there was no conflict with other events.
Member comment as made that the proposal offered the opportunity to encourage new outlets into the town to provide activities and services for the benefit of tourists and residents alike and there would be no need to replicate. Additional support was given that there was a need to provide a stronger offering along the seafront
In concluding the debate, it was formally proposed and seconded that the Subcommittee advise the Development Control Committee that it supported the planning application and that restrictions would be attached to the Operating Licence and would be enforced by the Property & Estates Department to ensure that the Riverside site only provided facilities relating to recreation and entertainment, with no food or drink, and that the Banjo Road site would be permitted to sell food but no alcohol and to provide recreation and entertainment. On being put to the vote, the Subcommittee agreed.
That the Development Control Committee be advised that the Subcommittee supported the planning application and that restrictions will be attached ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
This information paper updates Members on some of the activities undertaken by the Economy Group to help businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Group Head of Economy presented this report which provided an update on the work of the team to date to support local businesses throughout the pandemic. She particularly highlighted that the Arun Business Partnership had over 3,000 businesses on its mailing list and all members received weekly electronic bulletins with the most up to date government guidance and information. Partnership working throughout this time had played an important role in keeping businesses abreast of the situation and everyone had found creative ways of working to ensure information was circulated to as wide a spectrum as possible. She paid particular tribute to the hard work and commitment of the Revenues & Benefits Team who had worked so diligently to ensure grant payments were sent out in a timely manner.
The Subcommittee was advised by the Group Head of Economy of a number of initiatives and actions covered in the report, both in terms of action taken and steps for moving forward with recovery planning. She was thanked for her comprehensive coverage of the issues detailed and the Leader of the Council also acknowledged the phenomenally huge extra workload that her team and many members of staff and had taken on during this very difficult time.
Following brief comment, the Subcommittee noted the report.
To receive and note the Position Statement.
In consideration of this item, Councillor Roberts spoke to the item.
In presenting the Position Statement, the Group Head of Economy provided an in depth update in respect of the Littlehampton Town Centre Public Realm Scheme in light of the difficulties that had been experienced. The update could not be included in the Position Statement included in the agenda as it had to be published prior to the Members’ briefing on 29 September.
The Subcommittee was advised that the Council had issued the Invitation to Tender for the public realm in June 2020, as soon as practical after lockdown had been lifted. The tender deadline was 21 July and the bids were assessed by 5 August. Two bids were submitted but one was eliminated because it was non-compliant and the compliant bid was significantly higher than the budget available so could not be accepted.
The project team reviewed the tendering process and bids to understand why the costs were so much over what was expected; the cost increase appeared to be due to increases in materials and the contractors’ increased profit margins and contingencies. Value engineering, through changing the paving (by far the single largest expenditure) to an equivalent alternative, would reduce the costs but not enough to bring the project back into budget.
The project team met to discuss options for delivering the scheme within budget and an alternative solution to drop Phase 1 was agreed with key members on 10 September. Funders were then contacted to advise of the changes and implications of this.
A briefing to update Members was held on 29th September.
The second Invitation to Tender (ITT) was published on 5 October with tenders to be returned by 16 November for bids for the detailed design for Phases 1, 2 & 3 of the project and construction of Phases 2 & 3. This was a two stage open book approach and open procedure tender process (i.e. the full tender documents were published for any interested party to access via Contracts Finder). It was hoped this would generate more bids.
The ITT stated a maximum budget for the construction works and all bids over that value would be disqualified. There might be a risk that no contractors would submit bids under the threshold but procurement believed that to be a low risk.
Members participated in some debate on the matter and concerns were raised with regard to the possibility of losing the funding altogether should the completion date not be met. The Group Head of Economy advised that the funders were seeking reassurance that the project would actually be delivered, rather than by a certain date, and she was confident that evidence could be provided to that effect. It was questioned whether it would be better to delay Phase 3 rather than Phase 1 as Phase 1 was the gateway to the town via the train station but a response was given that that was not possible due to the way the funding was set up ... view the full minutes text for item 17.
As this was the last meeting of the Subcommittee the Committee Manager, Carrie O’Connor, would be attending before leaving, the Chairman and Members thanked her for her 34 years’ service to the Council and wished her well in her retirement.