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Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Blackpool

Contact: John Greenbank  Senior Democratic Governance Adviser

Items
No. Item

1.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Members are asked to declare any interests in the items under consideration and in doing so state:

 

(1) the type of interest concerned either a

 

(a)   personal interest

(b)   prejudicial interest

(c)    disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI)

 

and

 

(2) the nature of the interest concerned

 

If any member requires advice on declarations of interests, they are advised to contact the Head of Democratic Governance in advance of the meeting.

Minutes:

Councillor Paula Burdess and Councillor Paul Galley declared personal interests in Item 4 Executive and Cabinet Member Decisions. The nature of the interest was that they were both Board members of Blackpool Transport Services Limited and a Cabinet Member decision had been taken in regards to the National Bus Strategy.

2.

MINUTES OF THE LAST MEETING HELD ON 16 JUNE 2021 pdf icon PDF 462 KB

To agree the minutes of the last meeting held on 16 June 2021 as a true and correct record.

Minutes:

The Committee considered the minutes from its 16 June 2021 meeting. The Chair asked that his thanks to the previous Chair of the Tourism, Economy and Communities Scrutiny Committee, Councillor Martin Mitchell, be added to the minutes.

 

The Committee agreed, subject to the above amendment, that the minutes of the last meeting held on 16 June 2021 were a true and correct record.

3.

PUBLIC SPEAKING

To consider any applications from members of the public to speak at the meeting.

Minutes:

There were no public speakers on this occasion.

4.

EXECUTIVE AND CABINET MEMBER DECISIONS pdf icon PDF 463 KB

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Executive and Cabinet Member decisions taken within its remit since the last meeting of the Tourism, Economy and Communities Scrutiny Committee on 16 June 2021.

 

Members discussed PH47/21 ‘National Bus Strategy’ and queried if the strategy would cover all service providers in Blackpool or if it would only focus on Blackpool Transport Services Limited (BTS) as the main provider. In response Councillor Neal Brookes, Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Public Safety, Highways and Transport, explained that the adoption of the strategy was a requirement from central government, in order to receive ongoing funding for bus services. He also confirmed that all bus service providers in Blackpool had been consulted as part of the preparation of the strategy, which was aimed at improving frequency, routes and the quality of bus travel. A further report detailing a local Bus Service Improvement Plan would also be submitted to the October 2021 meeting of the Executive.

 

The Committee expressed concern regarding the decision PH56/21 ‘Lease for Showtown Museum’. It was noted that the agreed lease would last thirty years and start at £250k a year with increases every five years. Members asked if the agreed rental amount could not have been better spent on building a Council owned property for the museum and queried what safeguards existed to prevent significant rental increases. Councillor Lynn Williams, Leader of the Council replied that the lease was important to ensure that the museum project was delivered in a timely manner and that costs would be controlled through the terms of the lease. Mr Steve Thompson, Director of Resources, added that the five-year increases would be linked to inflation and be within an agreed cap.

 

The cost benefit of the installation of new wind turbines at the Solaris Centre, as outlined in EX33/21 ‘Solaris Centre: Renewable Energy Project’, was discussed by members of the Committee, specifically the timescales envisioned for the Council to recoup the expenditure on the project. Councillor Jane Hugo, Cabinet Member for Climate Change, agreed to share the details of the project with the Committee following the meeting.

 

Members also noted EX38/21 ‘Community Renewal Fund’, highlighting the tight deadlines for submission, and asked what processes had been undertaken to ensure that the projects selected would be the most beneficial for Blackpool. Councillor Mark Smith, Cabinet Member for Business Enterprise and Job Creation outlined the application process that the Council had undertaken for projects for the fund. The bids submitted had been oversubscribed and had included a broad spectrum of schemes seeking funding. Therefore, the Council had selected a number of schemes for submission to the Fund, which had been chosen to ensure that they were balanced across various parts of Blackpool. The submission had been made on 18 June 2021 and the Council expected to hear which had been approved by the time of the Government’s autumn spending review announcement.

 

Regarding EX36/21 ‘Blackpool Street Lighting and Traffic Signals Private Finance Initiative’, Members queried if the new LED Luminaries could be used to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

FORWARD PLAN pdf icon PDF 464 KB

To consider the content of the Council’s Forward Plan, October 2021 – January 2022, within the remit of the Committee.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the contents of the Council’s Forward Plan October 2021 to January 2022, relating to the portfolios of the Cabinet Members whose responsibilities fell within its remit.

 

Members queried what the purpose of the Sex Establishment Licensing Policy would be. Councillor Neal Brookes, Cabinet Member for Enforcement, Public Safety, Highways and Transport, responded that the policy would mean that the Council would not renew any sexual establishments licences once it had lapsed. However, it was noted that the policy did not cover massage parlours.

6.

TOWN CENTRE REGENERATION UPDATE pdf icon PDF 469 KB

To consider an update on the progress of Town Centre regeneration projects.

Minutes:

The Committee agreed that consideration of the Town Centre Regeneration Update would be deferred to the 8 December 2021 meeting.

7.

TOURISM PERFORMANCE UPDATE pdf icon PDF 467 KB

To consider tourism performance in 2021 including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the visitor economy and the measures that are in place to aid its recovery.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Philip Welsh, Head of Tourism and Communications, presented an update on tourism performance and the measures that had been put in place to aid the sectors’ recovery following the Covid-19 pandemic. He informed the Committee that compared with the last full tourist season in 2019, the 2021 season had shown strong signs of recovery. Ongoing support for tourism would include the extension of the Illuminations period to January 2022. This would help attract more visitors over the winter period and enhance Blackpool’s tourism offer.

 

The Committee queried if the increased footfall outlined in the report had correlated into an increase in bookings at hotels and bed and breakfasts. Mr Welsh responded that reporting on the level of bookings had taken place through the Tourism Recovery Group and had shown positive feedback and strong bookings for 2022. He added that the level of secondary spend had also been shown to be very good.

 

Capturing customers through the use of marketing for the 2022 seasons was also discussed. Mr Welsh reported that conversations had been taking place with tourism partners to ensure that this would be possible. Due to the restrictions and challenges faced by Blackpool during the pandemic, the Council had led on the marketing for 2021 but it was intended that partners would lead for 2022 and determine how to “sell” the resort to potential visitors.

 

The cost of the Illuminations Switch-On was queried by the Committee. In response Mr Welsh explained that the switch on event was organised by MTV with a fee being paid by the Council, details of which could be provided following the meeting. He added that the Council also had input into the event as part of the negotiation with MTV to stage it. The Committee also noted that MTV would be staging two further events to support the switch on at their own cost.

 

The decision to hold the World Fireworks Championship on a Saturday during the Illuminations was queried, with members noting that it would be a very busy evening as a result. In response Mr Welsh explained that normally the fireworks would be launched from the North Pier, however this was unavailable for the 2021 event. Therefore the beach had to be utilised, which meant a date when the tide was low enough for the event to take place had to be selected. The Saturdays had been chosen as the tides were suitable and it was considered the best day to encourage visitors to also spend in the town centre and other venues. Following the event Mr Welsh confirmed that the staging of the event would be reviewed to determine its success.

 

Members of the Committee raised the issue of temporary holiday accommodation, such as Air BnBs, in Blackpool. These type of holiday lets were only available for a limited number days in a year and therefore were subject to less regulations than more traditional accommodation such as hotels. Councillor Williams, Leader of the Council informed the Committee that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

LEISURE SERVICES ANNUAL REPORT pdf icon PDF 570 KB

To consider an update on the work undertaken, future plans and performance of Leisure Services.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Ms Lisa Arnold, Head of Parks, Leisure and Catering Services, presented the Leisure Services Annual Report, which outlined the delivery of services and included key performance data. Ms Arnold reported that the overall recovery from Covid-19 had been very good however it remained unclear how the pandemic had effected customer behaviour and their wiliness to attend leisure venues. It had also been noted that there had been a reduction in the number of school swimmers due to the closure of swimming pools, the service was therefore looking at how to encourage their return.

 

The Committee noted the potential for Blackpool to increase the participation of young girls in football, with a view to helping those who showed promise progress to become professionals and queried how this opportunity could be marketed. Ms Arnold replied that this had been recognised by the service and that a new Leisure Marketing Officer would be appointed with responsibilities that would include the promotion of sports such as women’s football.

 

Encouraging the return of adult swimmers was also discussed with Ms Arnold explaining that the Blackpool Aquatic Society offered sessions to adults who wanted to learn to swim. She added that the Beach Patrol undertook educational sessions in schools to help promote swimming to children.

 

The marketing of the Holiday Activity Fund was also queried, with Members asking how its reach could be maximised, without causing those who qualified for the fund to be discriminated against. Ms Arnold responded that although children had to be in receipt of school meals to benefit from the fund, the activities undertaken by the fund were open to all children.

9.

SCRUTINY WORKPLAN pdf icon PDF 454 KB

To consider the Workplan and to monitor the implementation of Committee recommendations, together with any suggestions that Members may wish to make for scrutiny review topics and to note the outcome of the CCTV Scrutiny Review Panel and Arts and Culture Scrutiny Review Panel.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the Scrutiny Workplan report, including an update on the work undertaken by the CCTV Scrutiny Review Panel and the Arts and Culture Scrutiny Review Panel.

 

It was noted that the Arts and Culture Review Panel had recommended that the Council support the establishment of a Cultural Partnership for Blackpool and the development of a Blackpool Cultural Plan. The report asked that the Committee approve this recommendation for submission to the Executive at its November 2021 meeting.

 

The Committee agreed that the Work Programme and the outcomes of the CCTV Review Panel be noted and that the recommendation of the Arts and Culture Review Panel be forwarded to the Executive.

10.

DATE OF NEXT MEETING

To note the date and time of the next meeting as Wednesday, 8 December 2021, commencing at 6pm.

Minutes:

The date of the next meeting of the Committee was confirmed as Wednesday, 8 December 2021 at 6.00pm.