Venue: Council Chamber, Municipal Buildings, West Street, Boston, PE21 8QR
Contact: Pippa Rose, Democratic Services Officer Telephone 01205 314228 e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
The minutes of the last meeting, held 18th September 2023, were agreed.
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies of absence were received from Councillors; Jyothi Arayambath and Helen Staples.
The Chief executive confirmed that had been notified that Councillors Richard Austin BEM and Alison Austin had joined the Independent 2020 Group.
DEPUTATIONS AND PETITIONS
There were none for this meeting
QUESTIONS FROM ELECTED MEMBERS
The chief executive confirmed that four questions had been received;
Question from Councillor Mike Gilbert to Councillor John Baxter
Like everywhere else in the UK, town centre economies, including Boston’s, rely heavily on footfall and spending power. We are a shoreline town with a dispersed population with many people moving out of town to newly built village estates
The nature of Boston’s economy has also altered over the last 30 years. Well paid work in manufacturing have gone and in the housing sector its characterised by the replacement of owner-occupied houses with HMOs and an enlarged rental sector. In my view, there have been significant changes to spending power associated with this and it has placed limits on our opportunities to grow the town centre economy from within.
Whilst I welcome the all recommendations and actions in the Boston Town Centre Strategy and Action Plan only actions T6 and T7 of the Boston Town Centre Strategy and Action Plan seem to address the pressing issue of vacant and dilapidated retail units being converted to alternative leisure or retail uses or more radically into residential accommodation. Thus increasing spending power within the town centre. There are clearly opportunities to develop important properties like the old Mason’s shop, REBOS, Rose of Bengal and Pound Stretcher as well as Mills and the Red Cow on Wide Bargate. I am of course mindful that Boston probably has enough slot shops, charity shops, Coffee shops, takeaways and barbers.
Could I ask the Portfolio holder for Housing Building control and Strategic Planning what input he had into the Town Centre Strategy and whether he will be a member of the Town Centre Management Steering Group? Also what if any, actual steps had been taken prior to consultation on the strategy, to move quickly forward with developing these important ambitions? In the absence of any steps taken so far, what is the proposed process to move quickly forward with these ambitions in 2024?
Response from Councillor John Baxter
It is pleasing to note that Cllr Gilbert welcomes all the recommendations and actions in the Boston Town Centre Strategy and Action Plan.
As the Portfolio Holder for Housing, Building Control and Strategic Planning I am pleased to say that I have been involved in the development of the Town Centre Strategy right from its very formative days earlier this year through to its adoption by Cabinet on 25th October 2023*. I will continue to be engaged in this important piece of work through my role on Cabinet and where appropriate attendance at the Town Centre Management Steering Group on the occasions where that is required or seen to be useful.
The Council has had long term ambitions to address the issue of vacant and dilapidated retail units in the town. We use a range of mechanisms in order to tackle such concerns. They include maintaining a consistent dialogue with local and regional commercial agents in order to support the marketing of these premises, to better connect those ... view the full minutes text for item 139.
QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC
There were no public questions received.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
There were none.
(A report by Martin Gibbs, Head of Procurement & Contracts)
The Portfolio Holder – Finance presented the proposed Procurement Strategy 2023-2026. The strategy had been created following an action raised in the Annual Delivery Plan 2023/24. It was also a key strand of the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership Business Case, recognising that through joint procurement the Councils could deliver significant savings.
The report had previously been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee – Corporate & Community in July, the Audit & Governance Committee in September and Cabinet in October. The report had been updated to include comments received at each Committee, and the strategy had ultimately been referred for approval by Full Council.
The proposed Procurement Strategy focused on three key themes from the National Procurement Strategy. These being;
The themes were then further broken down into sections which then outline the strategy to improve and enhance the procurement service.
Elected Members commented on their support for the Procurement Strategy, referring specifically to the support that would be made available to local businesses and the savings acquired across the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership.
That Full Council approved the Procurement Strategy 2023/24 at Appendix 1 to the report included within the agenda pack.
(A report by James Gilbert, Assistant Director – Corporate)
The Leader presented the South & East Lincolnshire Councils Partnership Sub-regional strategy.
The Strategy set out the Partnerships priorities over the next 5 years, including both shared and local priorities. The shared priorities were as follows; Growth and Prosperity, Healthy Lives, Safe and Resilient Communities, Environment, Efficiency and Effectiveness. The local priorities specific to Boston are; promoting arts, culture, heritage and tourism, improving infrastructure, managing budgets and assets, and community safety.
The Strategy had previously undergone significant Member consultation through Member engagement sessions which had been held in September, the outcomes of that session had been presented at a joint Scrutiny meeting in October before being presented at Cabinet.
Two amendments had been identified and rectified since the report had been published;
Members expressed their support for the Sub-regional strategy.