Cabinet round-up 7 November 2018
Ryecroft review to take place
Cabinet discussed the latest developments involving the Ryecroft site in the town centre.
The Borough Council and Staffs County Council, who jointly own the site, are to share the £70,000 cost of bringing in specialists to carry out a “master planning” exercise on the area.
The review comes as the UK has been hit by a series of high-profile failures such as Maplin and Toys R Us, House of Fraser, Debenhams, Carphone Warehouse and Carpetright.
Cabinet stated that it had been apparent for a while that the mixed use development originally earmarked for Ryecroft, under the previous administration, is no longer a viable option and the development has to move forward as part of a sensible and responsible reaction to a fast-changing environment.
Cabinet was told that a mixed use that included residential accommodation, business retail and integrated parking is more likely to be relevant now.
Work will also go on to see how the site can be used while the master planning takes place. Over the past couple of years the area has been successfully used for a Winter Wonderland and more recently a visit by the excellent NoFit State Circus.
Future management of the outdoor market
Newcastle market is to stay under council control in a bid to give the attraction a stronger more attractive and sustainable future.
The proposal was recommended to Cabinet in response to the decision that private sector operator, Market Place Management Ltd, is no longer taking over control of the facility.
The specialist company’s proposal for reversing the declining market for the benefit of the wider town centre economy won a competitive tendering exercise to outsource the service in October 2017 but ongoing talks to reach a mutually acceptable agreement, taking into account difficult High Street trading conditions, have not reached a successful conclusion.
The Council has experienced officers who will be proposing measures as well as consulting with market traders, staff and the existing licensee, residents, Newcastle-under-Lyme Business Improvement District and other interested parties.
Cabinet agreed that the market has been at the heart of the town’s success for centuries and will remain a key part of the regeneration and the future of the town centre.
They said they were particularly aiming to make sure the borough has a market to be proud of in the celebration year of 2023, the 850th anniversary of the borough charter.
One public estate – Knutton Masterplanning
The Borough Council and Staffs County Council are going to bid for a slice of £15 million Government funding to guide the development of surplus land in Knutton.
The two councils will apply for a grant from the One Public Estate programme to commission a comprehensive master planning exercise to identify possible land uses.
The programme, a cross-Government partnership, aims to support collaborative public sector land and property projects, especially those which unlock land for new homes.
Practical and technical support is also available through the national scheme.
Both councils own parcels of land in the village which could form a wider regeneration scheme, potentially involving sites owned by other strategic partners.
Cabinet heard that the Borough Council has agreed, in principle, to procure master planning work in Knutton – as well as two other areas – following a previous decision to dispose of the former recreation centre site. It also owns a small area at the rear of the ex-servicemen’s club. Other land holdings are maintained by the county council.
Cabinet members all agreed that it makes sense to work together to create one coherent vision, based on quality and detailed information the research will provide, rather than developing each site in isolation.
Further reports will be brought back to Cabinet on this important joint project in due course.
Financial and Performance Management Report to end quarter two (July-September 2018-19)
Cabinet discussed each section in the quarterly report which provides members with a detailed update on how the Council has performed during the second quarter of 2018/19.
For this report a total of 21 indicators were monitored, and the proportion of indicators which have met their target or are within tolerance levels during this period stands at 71 per cent.
Please note: The full, detailed report is available online under Minutes and Agendas, along with the Cabinet papers and agenda pack.
*Additional, non-agenda item
Kidsgrove Sports Centre – news brought to the Cabinet meeting by the Leader of the Council, Simon Tagg.
Cabinet were told that plans to reopen a former leisure centre have taken a huge step forward.
Staffordshire County Council has agreed to transfer the building in Kidsgrove to the Borough Council for a nominal fee. This was warmly welcomed by Cabinet members.
The county council’s Property Sub-Committee has unanimously decided to the transfer, together with a contribution of £363,000 towards the cost of demolition. The Borough Council has already agreed to contribute £300,000 to the project.
Cabinet said that they now plan to set up meetings with all relevant parties and move ahead as quickly as possible.
It is important to note that specific conditions have been set out for this transfer and they have been accepted by Cabinet. These are:
(a) “That Cabinet agrees, in principle, to accept a transfer of the Sports Centre from the County Council together with a sum of £363,000 in respect of demolition costs.
(b) That the Council ensures that any transfer to the Borough Council is simultaneous with a transfer from the Borough Council to the Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group CIO on like terms, including the funding, and transferring the ongoing risk for the Sports Centre to the CIO
(c) That a meeting be arranged between the Borough Council, the Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group CIO and officers of the County Council as soon as possible to agree a project plan to move the transaction forward and put in place plans for the refurbishment at the earliest opportunity
(d) That the Leader of the Council be given delegated authority, in consultation with the Council’s Executive Management Team Officers, to take such decisions on behalf of the Council as are necessary to progress this matter.
(e) That the Council asks the Kidsgrove Sports Centre CIO to agree to allow a local member from the area to become a full voting member of the CIO Board.”
Cabinet pledged full support for the community group (Kidsgrove Sports Centre Community Group, a Charitable Incorporated Organisation) in developing viable proposals for local volunteers to reopen the sports centre.
Full details of all reports considered by Cabinet are available on the Borough Council’s website – www.newcastle-staffs.gov.uk – under the “Your Council” section.
Last updated 8 November 2018