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Agenda and minutes

Employment, Business and Investment Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 6th February, 2019 4.00 pm

With effect from 1 April 2016 Agenda and Minutes will be available in both Welsh and English. Reports are working documents and produced in English only in accordance with Welsh Language Standard 41 of this Council’s Final Compliance Notice from the Welsh Language Commissioner.

Venue: Council Chamber, Guildhall

Contact: Tracy Davies  Scrutiny Facilitator

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

31.

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors Geoff Lowe and Nigel Williams.

32.

Declarations of personal interests, if any

Members are reminded of their responsibility, under Paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare the existence and nature of any personal interest in respect of any of the business to be transacted at this meeting

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members were reminded of their responsibility, under Paragraph 11 of the Members’ Code of Conduct, to declare any interests in relation to any of the business to be transacted at this Meeting.  The following declarations were made:

 

Agenda Item 5 – Rural Development Plan 2014 - 2020

Councillor Sonia Benbow-Jones   – Personal – Councillor for host village.  The Councillor remained in the Meeting taking part in the discussion thereon.

Councillor Frank Hemmings – Personal – Attended conference which fed into the ibeacon network project.

33.

Confirmation of Minutes pdf icon PDF 57 KB

To sign as a correct record the Minutes of the Meeting held on 9 January 2019

Additional documents:

Minutes:

AGREED – That the Minutes of the Meeting held on 9 January 2019 be signed as a correct record.

 

 

34.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 106 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Finance

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/12/19s) to assist the Committee in considering and agreeing its work programme.

 

The Scrutiny Officer introduced the report and referred, in particular, to section 4, which detailed the changes agreed at the last meeting.

 

During discussion the following proposals were put forward and subsequently supported:

 

·         Future Development and Improvement of Indoor and Outdoor Markets  - Scrutiny Topic Selection Form (Appendix 1) – It was agreed that a task and finish group be established to consider this topic, comprising of the following Members :

Councillor Paul Roberts (Chair)

Councillor Frank Hemmings (Vice Chair)

Councillor Alun Jenkins

Councillor Marc Jones

Councillor Sonia Benbow-Jones. 

·         ‘Provision of Small Industrial Units for the Economic Development Estate’ – this item be deferred from April to a date later in the year to enable more time to compile the information for the report. 

·         ‘Markets Strategic Asset Management Plan’ – this item be deferred from June to 3 July meeting.

·         ‘Ty Pawb – Annual performance monitoring report’ - this item be brought forward from the July to the June meeting.

 

AGREED: That the Work Programme, attached at Appendix 2 to report HF/12/19s, be agreed subject to the aforementioned amendments.

 

 

35.

Rural Development Plan 2014 - 2020 pdf icon PDF 146 KB

To consider the report of the Head of Finance.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(Members declarations of interest in relation to this item are set out in Minute 32 above)

 

The Head of Finance submitted a report (HF/11/2019) allowing Members to consider the progress on the delivery of the LEADER element of the Rural Development Plan 2014-2020 in rural areas of Wrexham.

 

The Chair introduced Adam Bishop, LEADER Programme Coordinator and Gareth Evans, Company Secretary, to the meeting and together they gave a presentation which provided a detailed overview in relation to the delivery of the programme to date, focusing on the LEADER element and particularly the five LEADER themes for Wales.  The presentation also provided detail in respect of the different RDP schemes, the Rural Wrexham LEADER budget and the funding application processes in place.  They responded to Members questions accordingly, thereafter. 

 

During discussion, the following points were noted, in particular:

 

  • Confirmation that the Welsh Government LEADER programme had been extended until June 2023 and funding across rural Wrexham was secure up until this point.
  • Concern was raised regarding the impact of no deal Brexit on the programme.  The LEADER Programme Coordinator confirmed that there was a great level of uncertainty around how this outcome would affect the programme.
  • It was suggested that the funding application process should be promoted more.  The LEADER Programme Co-ordinator agreed to take this on board.

·         The LEADER Programme Coordinator provided clarification around the eligibility criteria and eligible wards, which were agreed by Welsh Government.

·         The LEADER Programme Coordinator  referenced the progress of pilot projects which would lead onto the development of exciting opportunities for Wrexham.  A number of  projects had already generated their own success stories.

·         A mid-term independent evaluation of the programme was due to take place by the end of the year which could be provided to Members.

 

AGREED –

 

(i)         That the Committee thank Cadwyn Clwyd for a detailed report and update and commend the progress being made.

 

(ii)        That a further progress report be submitted to Committee in 18 months – 2 years’ time.

36.

Exclusion of Press and Public

In considering whether to exclude the press and public from the next part of the meeting Members are asked to consider the following factors when determining the public interest test.

 

Agenda Item 8 - Not for publication by virtue of paragraph 14 of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).  The Proper Office has determined in considering this report that paragraph 14 should apply.  Her view on the public interest test was that while she was mindful of the need to ensure the transparency and accountability of public authorities for decisions taken by them in relation to the spending of public money, the right of the authority or a third party to the privacy of their financial or business affairs outweighed the need for that information to be made public.

It is, therefore, recommended that the press and public be excluded from the Meeting during consideration of the following item as it is likely that, if they were present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 14 of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

AGREED - That the press and public be excluded from the Meeting during consideration of the following item as it is likely that, if they were present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 14 of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

37.

Update on the Economic Development Estate Strategic Asset Management Plan

To receive a verbal report from the Lead Member for Economy – Economic Development and Regeneration.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Strategic and Assets Lead provided a verbal update regarding the occupancy of the 2nd Floor of Redwither Tower following discussions with the current occupier. 

 

The Head of Finance provided clarification regarding the changes which had previously been made to the financial management arrangements for the Economic Development Estate regarding the income targets and inflation provision.  He assured Members that any surplus generated by the Estate would be placed in the earmarked reserve for the Estate, in accordance with current policy. 

 

It was noted that the vacation of part of the second floor of Redwither Tower would  not impact on the budget until 2020/21, and that an options appraisal of Redwither Tower would be included as part of the new Strategic Asset Management Plan.

 

AGREED –

 

(i)         That the Committee reconsider the recommendation to the Executive Board from the previous meeting regarding the realignment of the income target for the Economic Development Estate as part of the budget setting process for 2020/21, when further information regarding the future use of Redwither Tower will be available.

 

(ii)        That an update regarding the future use of the  2nd floor of Redwither Tower be circulated to Members of the Committee for information when more detailed information has been provided by the occupier.