Agenda and draft minutes

Economy Committee - Tuesday 29th March 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Arun Civic Centre, Maltravers Road, Littlehampton, BN17 5LF. View directions

Contact: Carley Lavender 

Media

Items
No. Item

776.

Apology for Absence

777.

Declarations of Interest

Members and Officers are invited to make any declaration 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 items 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 interest and/or prejudicial interest

c)             the nature of the interest

 

Minutes:

Councillor Dixon declared a personal interest in Agenda Item 14 [Disposal of London Road Car Park and Lorry Park, Bognor Regis] as an employee for the Royal Mail that used the London Road car park and as a member of the Bognor Regis Civic Society. Councillor Dixon also requested that all votes this evening be recorded votes.

 

Councillors Walsh and Northeast both declared Personal Interests in Agenda Items 6 [Littlehampton Public Realm Improvements – Phase 1 (Terminus Road) Contractor Appointment], Item 7 [Tourism Marketing Campaign], Item 8 [Consideration of Options for Pier Road, Littlehampton], and 10 [Installation of Additional Beach Huts in Littlehampton, West Sussex] both as Members of Littlehampton Town Council.  Councillor Walsh also declared an interest in these items as a Member of West Sussex County Council.

 

Councillor Stanley declared a Personal Interest in Agenda Item 14 [Disposal of London Road Car Park and Lorry Park, Bognor Regis] as a member of Bognor Regis Town Council as it had made representations on this issue.

 

            The Director of Place declared a Personal Interest in Item 9 [Closure of Trisanto development Corporation Ltd] as he was currently the Council’s Director of this company.

 

778.

Minutes

Minutes:

The minutes of the last meeting of the Committee held on 19 January 2022 were approved as a correct record and were signed by the Chair.

 

 

 

779.

ITEMS NOT ON THE AGENDA THAT THE CHAIRMAN OF THE MEETING IS OF THE OPINION SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS A MATTER OF URGENCY BY REASON OF SPECIAL CIRCUMSTANCES

Minutes:

            The Chair confirmed that there were no urgent items for this meeting.

780.

Public Question Time

To receive questions from the public (for a period of up to 15 minutes)

 

Minutes:

The Chair advised members that there had been no public questions submitted for this meeting.

 

781.

Littlehampton Public Realm Improvements - Phase 1 (Terminus Road) Contractor Appointment pdf icon PDF 251 KB

This report seeks approval of the Economy Committee to accept and draw down funding from West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and enter into a collaboration agreement to undertake phase 1 (Terminus Road) works and to appoint the construction contract for the delivery of the regeneration works to Edburton by way of contract variation and to delegate authority for all approvals within the allocated budget of £1.253m to the Director of Place.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Place provided Members with an overview of the report highlighting that it was pleasing to note that West Sussex County Council (WSCC) had agreed to provide funding for Phase 1 (Terminus Road) of the improvements works. The committee was now being asked to enter into a collaboration agreement to undertake this phase of the works and to appoint the construction contract for the delivery of the regeneration works to Edburton by way of a contract variation.  Delegated authority was also sought to be given to the Director of Place to agree all approvals within the allocated budget of £1.25 m.

The Chair then invited questions from the Committee. Members agreed that this was long overdue good news in that the Council had achieved this funding from WSCC for the phase 1 works. These works had always featured in the original plans but due to a shortage in funding in the development of the scheme, had been paused. The position now reached had been achieved due to much collaborative funding from within WSCC and internal lobbying which was good news for businesses; residents of the town and the visitor economy too. 

Various questions were then asked by the Committee which were responded to at the meeting with some questions being confirmed would be responded to outside of the meeting.

 

The Chair then read out the recommendations which were then proposed by the Chair, Councillor Cooper and then seconded by Councillor Walsh.

A recorded vote was firstly undertaken on Recommendation (1). Those voting for this recommendation were Councillors Cooper, Mrs Cooper, Dixon, Edwards, Northeast, Roberts, Seex, Staniforth, Stanley, Walsh and Yeates [11].  This recommendation was declared as being approved. 

A recorded vote was then undertaken on Recommendations (2), (3) and (4).   Those voting for the recommendations were Councillors Cooper, Mrs Cooper, Dixon, Edwards, Northeast, Roberts, Seex, Staniforth, Stanley, Walsh and Yeates [11].  Having been declared as approved, 

 

The Committee

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                        RESOLVED - That

 

(1)          Agreement be given to a variation to the existing construction contract with Edburton for the delivery of phase 1 (Terminus Road, Littlehampton) as recommended by a procurement report (appendix 1); subject to Full Council approval of recommendation 2.

 

The Committee also

 

RECOMMEND TO FULL COUNCIL - That

 

(2)           It accepts and draws down £1.253m from WSCC to complete the phase 1 (Terminus Road, Littlehampton) works and add the expenditure and funding to the 2022/23 Capital Programme;

 

(3)          It approves authority to enter into a collaboration agreement with WSCC that sets out the billing regime for the funds in (1) above and approves the drawdown and expenditure of external funding, and that the terms and conditions are agreed by Legal Services and in consultation with the Monitoring Officer; 

 

(4)          As per Part 4 – Officers Scheme of delegation (4.3 to 4.7 refers) and under Part 7 of the Council’s Constitution, delegated authority be given to the Director of Place to plan, draw down and make budgetary decisions on the expenditure on this phase in accordance with the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 781.

782.

Tourism Marketing Campaign pdf icon PDF 146 KB

This report is requesting the Committees approval to commission a tourism marketing campaign to support and promote the Arun visitor economy.

 

Minutes:

The Group Head of Economy provided members with a report requesting the Committee to approve the commissioning of a tourism marketing ‘Destination Awareness Campaign’ to support and promote the Arun visitor economy.

 

            The Chair invited questions. Comments made by Members were that they very much supported the progression of this work as it would promote the district’s three destination sites and other areas to a wider audience. 

 

            A range of questions were then asked which were responded to at the meeting by The Group Head of Economy. These have been summarised below:

 

·         There was a lack of holiday accommodation and holiday parks in the district, could this be addressed? It was explained that an extensive accommodation study was being prepared which would be an item for a future meeting of the committee.

·         Was the big wheel coming to Littlehampton this year as this was very positive PR for Arun?  It was agreed that a written update would be provided to councillors.

·         A big issue identified by numerous Councillors was that the name ‘Arun’ did not relate to a location or place, just a river and so it was difficult to market. It was explained that by supporting the proposal, the Council would have a professionally delivered and targeted digital marketing campaign. The experts that would deliver the campaign would identify proposals about labelling destinations and what the offer was for the visitor sitting behind destinations. It would be necessary to come up with creative ways to work around this issue which would be addressed as part of the project.

·         The cost of the campaign was discussed and explained.

·         How would key stakeholders be involved and how would the campaign fit in terms of masterplans for each of the towns? It was explained that this  would very much be left to the experts running the campaign to explore and that the council would be guided by their recommendations. In terms of stakeholder engagement, generally the council was working well with all  town councils and other partnerships. The campaign would be seen as a major way to promote the towns in a positive and big way which would feed into master plans.

·         The new web portal Sussex by the Sea was praised as it provided a simplified and easy to navigate platform to promote primary tourism destinations in the district.  It was outlined that the campaigners might come up with other interesting options to direct visitors to locations and sites.

·         Would visitors be able to access the sites through any other entry points – a similar response to that provided above was given.

·         Could the Bognor Regis beach webcams be included into this package as they attracted high hit numbers? It was explained that all options would be considered by the campaigners

·         It was vital to market the entire area to entice visitors to stay in the area for more than just a one or two days providing information to other attraction areas and their offers

 

            The recommendation was then proposed by  ...  view the full minutes text for item 782.

783.

Consideration of Options for Pier Road, Littlehampton pdf icon PDF 142 KB

Pier Road has been closed to traffic under Covid 19 measures during summer 2020 and summer 2021. This report asks the Committee to consider undertaking consultation regarding future closures and, if agreed, whether these should be partial, full, permanent or seasonal.

Minutes:

The Business Development Manager presented this report reminding members that Pier Road had been closed to traffic for the past two summers using emergency powers relating to Covid-19. The closure had been generally welcomed by the public but had not been as popular with some of the local businesses in Pier Road.

 

Members had suggested that Pier Road again be closed for this summer season and in response the report outlined the reasons why officers felt that this was not a feasible proposal.  The report was asking the committee to consider undertaking wider consultation during summer 2022 regarding future options for the road closure, and if agreed, whether these should be partial, full, permanent or seasonal.

 

A variety of questions were asked by members all stating that this was an extremely important report. Members felt that a real opportunity had been missed in terms of the pending 2022 summer season. Reference was made to when the first road closure had taken place in the summer of 2020 during the pandemic. Initially this had seen to be very much welcomed by businesses and residents and had been a real opportunity to test the closure out. The response had seen overwhelming public support. The businesses that had wished to make something from the closure had and this had been the case for the second closure. It was accepted that there were one or two business who did not like the change and preferred to continue with no closure siting that they liked the opportunity for cars to be able to park down the road allowing customers to pop in and out of shops and cafes, despite the double yellow lines prohibiting this.  It had been felt that the closure had brought great advantages such as increased road safety and that it really had showcased the public investment in the riverside walkway and other attractions near the river. All of these positives would now be missed with no closure possible for 2022. Residents and visitors to the locality had  come to expect it and would be visiting expecting it to be in place and would be very disappointed. Although what was now being proposed was welcome, it was felt to be too little too late missing the momentum of a whole season’s closure.

 

Members confirmed that they were very much in favour of a seasonal closure only and that this should be from Easter to September and were openminded about what happened outside of the summer season. It was agreed that the council, the town council and individual councillors should promote and encourage a positive uptake of the closure and so they welcomed the proposals for the consultation but did not accept including as an option ‘to do nothing’.  The need to encourage a favourable uptake and to promote the advantages of a seasonal closure with those businesses that had not supported it in the past was vital and it was felt that more engaging dialogue should be undertaken using the Traders Partnership  ...  view the full minutes text for item 783.

784.

Closure of Trisanto Development Corporation Ltd pdf icon PDF 212 KB

This report follows on from a consideration of this matter on the 8 June 2021 when it was resolved that the business case and risk register should be updated to confirm whether the Council wished to invest in the growth of the Company or whether the Company should be formally closed. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Place presented this item advising members that this report followed a previous report presented to the committee on 8 June 2021 when it had been resolved that the business case and risk register should be updated to confirm whether the council wished to invest in the growth of the company or whether the company should be formally closed.

 

Since that meeting, the council had commissioned Savills to undertake an outline business case. The business case undertaken had been attached to the report as Appendix A and had focused on some key themes and had suggested three options in terms of how a company might be used by the council. It was highlighted that given the way the market in Arun was at the current time, there were significant risks in the council trying to insert itself in a very competitive housing market. The most logical step to take was the closure of the Company, however, this did not prevent the council from opening another company in the future, if there was the need to do so.

 

Before inviting questions from members, the chair reminded the committee that the council had explored many options in the past and now was time to make a final decision on the options being presented to the committee.

 

As part of the debate, some Councillors felt to close the company was a premature step to take. This was partly as the council had a new Chief Executive who was developing new strategies for the council. It was felt that the council should be maximising its assets where it could.  In view of this, the option to continue with the Company for a little longer with it lying in a dormant state could be the most appropriate action to take. Although there were other councillors who liked the idea of keeping all options open, members needed to be reminded that the company was now in its third administration and had not been utilised.

 

            Questions were asked about the other items for discussion on this agenda and whether these might need a company like Trisanto in the future. It was confirmed that the council had sought advice on exactly that point. The company was not required to deliver the outcome that was being proposed for other items on the agenda.

 

Following further discussion, Councillor Cooper then proposed the recommendation which was seconded by Councillor Edwards.

 

As a recorded vote had been requested, those voting for the recommendation were Councillors Mrs Cooper, Cooper, Edwards, Seex, Staniforth (5). Those voting against were Councillors Dixon, Roberts, Stanley, Walsh and Yeates (4). Councillors Northeast and Yeates abstained from voting (2).  The recommendations were confirmed as CARRIED.

 

 

 

 

 

 

            The Committee

 

                        RESOLVED

 

That the closure of the Trisanto Development be approved, and appropriate actions taken to give effect to this decision.

 

785.

Installation of additional Beach Huts in Littlehampton, West Sussex pdf icon PDF 241 KB

This report seeks to set out a viable business case for the installation of additional beach huts within Littlehampton. Consent is also sought to proceed to submission of a suitable planning application and to procure the manufacture and installation of beach huts on site. This will ensure the Council secures additional leaseholders and increase service revenue, working towards meeting the known customer demand for access to this popular seaside service.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report from the Property, Estates and Facilities Manager setting out a business case for the installation of additional beach huts within Littlehampton. Details surrounding the extensive consultation undertaken as part of this exercise were explained together with the financial details and implications.

 

            The report set out the background to this project reminding members that at its meeting held on 12 October 2021, the Committee in considering the beach hut review had instructed officers to proceed to review and bring back to it proposals for the siting of additional beach huts at the earliest opportunity.  This was that report. Prior to that, the Council had previously submitted a planning application for the siting of an additional 20 huts in March 2021, on the seafront in Littlehampton, but the Committee had voted against the planning officer’s recommendation to approve that application on the grounds that the application contained a lack of accessibility detail and that the development would affect the visual amenities of the locality in conflict with planning policies.

 

            To address the past planning application refusal the report recommended to reduce the number of planned beach huts to install from 20 down to 17. It was further proposed to relocate the bank of 10 beach huts proposed on the western end of the existing run of beach huts to the eastern end. Having consulted with the council’s coastal engineers on this proposal it had been confirmed that the shingle in the eastern location was unstable and was not considered to be a viable option due to the risk of sea damage.

 

            It was confirmed that a further report would be brought to the committee in the next twelve months outlining further beach hut provision options and how accessibility needs would be addressed.

 

            The Committee was being asked to approve proceeding with the procurement and installation of 17 new composite beach huts in locations set out in Appendix 1 to the report. Consent was also sought to proceed to submission of a suitable planning application and to procure the manufacture and installation of beach huts on site. This would ensure that the council secured additional leaseholds and increased service revenue, working towards meeting the known customer demand for the area. 

 

 

            Having received the officer’s presentation, a lengthy debate then took place and varied questions were asked by members. 

 

            Concerns were again raised on the location of the beach huts and why these additional huts could not be located elsewhere in the district. It was felt that the proposed location was already at full capacity with beach huts.  Members confirmed that they were unhappy with the proposals for several reasons.  Firstly, they had been told that it was impossible to have more beach huts towards the eastern end due to unstable shingle, however the western end of the beach which was stable had not been considered. To place 7-8 huts there would be preferable. Another major issue of concern was that the proposals did not include plans to make  ...  view the full minutes text for item 785.

786.

River Road Garage Site, Arundel, West Sussex pdf icon PDF 260 KB

This report seeks to set out the options available to the Council and make recommendation on how to proceed in respect of the future use of the Council’s freehold site in River Road Arundel

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Property, Estates and Facilities Manager presented a report setting out options available to the council in terms of how to proceed in respect of the future use of the council’s freehold site in River Road, Arundel.  A range of recommendations were being presented to the Committee to consider which were explained in detail. It was confirmed that full consultation had been undertaken with Arundel Town Council, ward members and the council’s finance, planning and legal teams.  All responses received had been set out in the appendices to the report.

 

            The recommendations were requesting the committee to give approval for the council to proceed with Option 5, as set out in the Options Viability Appraisal at Appendix 1, which was to demolish the existing garages; reconstruct a single four bedroom dwelling for use as a holiday let, managed via a hosting company. The remaining recommendations were then read out to the Committee.

 

            Members were reminded that a report on this proposal had been considered by the Committee on 12 October 2021 which had been deferred with a request that the matter be brought back to the committee considering further unspecified residential development in consultation with both local ward members and Arundel Town Council. In accordance with the committee’s instructions, residential options had been explored and had been detailed as options 6 and 6a as part of the report [Appendix 2] and both had been disregarded as being non-viable for the reasons explained in the report.

 

            Consultation with Residential Services in order to ascertain their interest in the site for potential social housing. Due to the restricted size of the site this option had been ruled out with the full detail of this being set out in the body of the report.

 

            The resubmitted report and the viability appraisals incorporated revised costings ensuring the conclusions allowed for the considerable price increases taking place throughout the construction supply chain. Prices had been further revised to include for infrastructure the site was prepared to receive future electric charging points. Option 5 was considered the best option for the council as it supported the council’s vision in respect of fulfilling Arun’s economic potential  and in respect of encouraging the development of the district as a key tourist destination.

 

            A range of statements were made and questions asked. The proposal to proceed with Option 5 was seen as an interesting and exciting proposal which would boost the tourist economy in Arun and was seen as the best use of the site bringing in valuable revenue.

           

Looking at finances, had the council considered borrowing the money for this scheme instead of taking it out of valuable reserves? It was explained that the advice received from the Section 151 Officer was that it was preferable for a borrowing requirement of this scale to use reserves rather than borrow and incur interest charges. Questions were then asked as to whether underground parking had been considered and concern was expressed that a number of residents would now be losing  ...  view the full minutes text for item 786.

787.

Outside Bodies

Minutes:

            The Chair confirmed that there were no updated for this meeting.

788.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 182 KB

The draft Work Programme for 2022/23 is attached for the Committee’s consideration and review.

Minutes:

The Director of Place presented the draft work programme for 2022/23 to the committee.

 

            The following suggestions were put forward for the new year’s work programme:

 

·                     The creation of a section of a sandy beach [300 years] for Bognor Regis to boost the town’s visitor market. Could a feasibility study be undertaken and reported back to the Committee? In response, Councillor Edwards, as Chair of the Environment Committee confirmed that this would be a matter for the Environment Committee to consider in terms of the many environmental impacts this would have in terms of tidal flows. The terms of reference of the Environment Committee included Foreshores and so this was an item for that committee to review and assess not the Economy Committee.

             

            The Director of Place outlined to members that if they had new items for the work programme, could suggestions firstly be made to the Chair of the committee to allow discussions to take place with key officers to assess the implications of such work against resources available; the costs associated with that work and what consultation may be required. Such items would then be brought to the attention of the committee to debate and vote upon as to whether they would like officers to investigate further by supplying a report outlining the implications of the item. 

           

·         A request was made for a report on LUF progress at a future meeting. It was confirmed that the Levelling-Up Fund was the responsibility of the Policy & Finance Committee.

 

            Following some further discussion around committee meeting date, the Committee then noted its Work Programme for 2022/23.

 

789.

Exempt Information

The Committee is asked to consider passing the following resolution: -

 

That under Section 100a (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and accredited representatives of newspapers be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act by virtue of the paragraph specified against the item.

Minutes:

Having been proposed by Councillor Edwards and seconded by Councillor Cooper,

 

The Committee 

 

                        RESOLVED

 

That under Section 100a (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and accredited representatives of newspapers be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it may involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act by virtue of the paragraph specified against the item.

 

790.

Disposal of London Road Car Park and Lorry Park, Bognor Regis [Exempt - Paragraph 3 - The Supply of Goods and Services]

This report seeks to set out the expressions of interest / offers received for the Council’s freehold site following the recent public marketing. Further authority is sought to proceed with the disposal of Council freehold land in accordance with the recommendations received from the Council’s appointed commercial agent.

Minutes:

(At the commencement of this item, Councillor Dixon redeclared his personal interest made at the start of the meeting).

 

The Property, Estates and Facilities Manager presented this item outlining that the report sought to set out the expressions of interest/offers received for the council’s freehold site following a recent public marketing exercise. The background to this item was also explained in detail.

 

As the report summarised all bids received, the Property, Estates and Facilities Manager worked through each of the options for consideration as set out in the report. He confirmed that further authority was sought to proceed with the disposal of this council freehold land in accordance with the recommendations received from the council’s appointed commercial agent. 

 

            The committee then asked questions on the bids received which were responded to at the meeting.

 

Having drawn members’ attention to the two recommendations proposed in the report, an amendment was put forward and explained by Councillor Dixon, but this was not seconded.  

 

            A further amendment was then proposed by Councillor Stanley and seconded by Councillor Walsh.  This amendment was broadly in line with Recommendation (1) in the report but asked the Group Head of Technical Services to enter a second and final bidding round with Option 3.1, 3.2 and 3.6 but that option 3.7 be added to this list and instead of the Group Head of Technical Services being given delegated authority to conclude all matters and enter into a contract to complete disposal of the site, that the matter be brought back to the committee for decision.

 

                        Lengthy discussion then took place on this amendment. A recorded vote was then undertaken.  Those voting for the amendment were Councillors Cooper, Mrs Cooper, Edwards, Northeast, Roberts, Seex, Staniforth, Stanley, Walsh and Yeates (10). Councillor Dixon voted against this amendment. 

 

            The Chair then returned to the substantive recommendation.  A recorded vote was undertaken. Those voting for the recommendation were Councillors Cooper, Mrs Cooper, Edwards, Northeast, Roberts, Staniforth, Stanley, Walsh and Yeates (9). Councillor Dixon voted against the recommendation. 

 

The Committee

 

                        RESOLVED

           

That it delegates to the Group Head of Technical Services authority to enter into a second and final bidding round with bidder 1 (option 3.1), bidder 2 (option 3.2), bidder 6 (option 3.6) and bidder 7 (option 3.7) to explore and finalise the detail of their respective bid proposals, to further negotiate best and final position and to report back to this committee.