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Agenda item


To consider the Executive and Cabinet Member Decisions within the remit of the Committee, taken since the last meeting.


The Committee considered the Executive and Cabinet Member decisions, within its remit, taken since the last meeting of the Tourism, Economy and Resources Scrutiny Committee on 23 January 2019.


Members queried if the procurement of new insurance providers outlined at Executive Decision EX4/2019 ‘Insurance Procurement Exercise’ had been a new method for identifying a provider. Mr Steve Thompson, Director of Resources, responded that process had been used before and that the Council identified three providers for insurance and the procurement had generated a significant saving from the previous supplier.


In relation to Executive Decision EX3/2019 ‘Lancashire 75% Business Rate Pooling Arrangement 2019/2020’ members queried how much had been raised from the pooling arrangement. Mr Thompson replied that the exact amount would not been known until the 2019/2020 outturn but that it was expected to be of the order of £10 million across the Pool. He also informed the Committee that Lancashire authorities involved in the arrangement would be looking to bid for funds from the amount raised for growth projects going forward.


The Council’s membership of the Digital Infrastructure Co-Operative to deliver the Full Fibre Network outlined in EX5/2019 was queried by the Committee. Members asked if the Co-Operative would be Blackpool specific in the work that would be undertaken. Mr Thompson replied that a co-operative model was the preferred model of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for funding digital infrastructure projects. He also informed the Committee that the Council had reached the third gateway stage of its bid to secure £3 million for the project. Members asked that an update on progress of the project be provided to the next meeting of the Committee.


Members also discussed EX21/2019, ‘Town Centre Parking Strategy’, in respect of access to Banks Street Car Park. Mr Alan Cavill, Director of Communication and Regeneration, informed the Committee that a deal to exchange a piece of Council land used by Network Rail on Banks Street for land to build a new access was under discussion. It was expected that an agreement with Network Rail would be reached and an exchange take place in August 2019 with work on a new access beginning in 2020. Mr Cavill informed the Committee that the expected cost of the work would be £450,000.


In respect of EX20/2019, ‘Funding for Blackpool Housing Company (BHC)’, Members asked what revenue streams BHC had and if information on them was available. Mr Thompson responded that the company’s accounts were available. He also informed Members that although the company continued to run at a planned technical loss in the short term, BHC had continued to deliver affordable and high standard rented accommodation in Blackpool. The Committee also asked how many units the company had made available, in response to which Mr Cavil stated that 230 had been delivered.


The Committee also discussed Library Fees and Charges, in respect of EX34/2019. Members queried if there had been a loss of revenue from the decision to stop charging late fees. Mr Cavill responded that late fees discouraged people from returning books, resulting in no fee being paid. Therefore by stopping charging late fees the Council had increased the number of books returned.


The Committee agreed to receive an update on progress of the Digital Infrastructure Co-Operative project to the next meeting of the Committee.

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