Agenda item

QUESTIONS FROM ELECTED MEMBERS

Minutes:

The following questions were received;

 

Question from Councillor Claire Rylott to Councillor Anne Dorrian:

“On the 19th January Boston Borough Council received a letter from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Community. The council were informed that they had been successful in their Levelling Up Fund Application for “The Rosegarth Square Masterplan”, a sum of just under Fifteen Million Pounds. Could you please give members an update on the progress of this project.”

 

Response from Councillor Anne Dorrian:

Thank you for your question Cllr Rylott,

As you have rightly stated, the Council received notification of its successful bid in January. Since then, Officers have been working with the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities; as well as other partner agencies and stakeholders to mobilise delivery of the projects which formed the bid.

As I am sure you appreciate, until the Council had received formal confirmation of the funding delivery and associated agreements with Government, it would not have been prudent to commit significant Council resources. In addition, the local elections added further complexity to this and the ability to keep Members and the public updated.

            However, I am pleased to confirm:

1.    That the Memorandum with Government has been signed, returned and agreed.

2.    The Council has had its ‘Inception Meeting’ with civil servant colleagues.

3.    The first round of Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) has been returned.

4.    The first tranche of funding, circa £1.8m has been received.

5.    Positive discussions have been held with the YMCA, who are immensely keen to progress their project and are gearing up internal and external teams.

6.    Positive discussions have been held with private landowners and their representatives (B&M and Crown House)

7.    The Council has begun to mobilise to bring in additional capacity and staffing resource to manage the project development and delivery.

8.    An update on progress has been given to the latest Boston Town Deal Board, as well as updates to the Community Leaders forum and Primary Care Network (PCN).

9.    We have just received our next M&E request for a meeting with civil servants and anticipate a second tranche of funding to be received over the summer.

The entire Cabinet have been brought up to speed with the project and its aims, and I am pleased to say we continue to support this investment which could be transformational for this part of town. I have also had the benefit of a walkabout tour of the site, in order to discuss the plans in great detail and I am incredibly keen to see progress on the ground as soon as possible. This is a view that I have shared with the officer team.

I am also pleased to say that, as indicated by part of the report later on this agenda, Officers have held considerably positive discussions with NHS colleagues in relation to linked developments of a potential Community Diagnostic Centre which would complement the Levelling Up fund projects; and also the potential delivery of a new health facility for Boston which could be co-located within the PE21 area; and if these initiatives come to fruition, they will make an enormously positive impact on the residents of Boston Borough.

As you know, during the first week of this administration, I reached out to you and other group leaders offering a genuinely open dialogue for any matter which comes before this council. Other group leaders have taken advantage of that in the spirit in which it was offered, and I look forward to you eventually taking up this offer too. In the meantime, both myself and our Officers will continue to keep all Members appraised of developments, at relevant stages.

Other points to note:

·         Original bid was submitted in July 2022, decision announcement was delayed by Government.

·         Delays in MOU and funding being pushed out were due to Government.

·         Detailed design work on the public realm required

·         Community engagement will be undertaken as the projects progress

·         Levelling Up Partnership due to ‘kick off’ in December

 

There was no supplemental question.

 

Question from Councillor Anton Dani to Councillor Anne Dorrian:

“Can you please tell us how much money have raised for your chosen Charities during your Mayoral year?”

 

Response from Councillor Anne Dorrian:

“Thank you for your question Councillor Dani.

£1,910 had been raised for my chosen Charities plus near 500 kilograms had been donated to Boston Food Bank.”

 

Supplemental question from Councillor Anton Dani:

“I have raised over £5,178 in less than a year and I have been called a dreadful Mayor by you and supported by one of your colleagues, would you please explain to me why you called me a dreadful Mayor while I visited the Mosques, gave money to charities myself, I visited care homes. In our manners and our principles we say what the right gives, the left shouldn’t know so I don’t have to go to people and tell them why. Why did you call me a dreadful Mayor?”

 

Supplemental response from Councillor Anne Dorrian:

“Thank you, Mr Mayor, do you know what, this evening is about you, Councillor Brown, it is about your Mayoralty, it is about your Mayor making, your guests who have come along to support you this evening. I could wipe the floor with you Councillor Dani and would enjoy every second but out of deference to the Mayoralty and this man’s special night I am saying nothing more. Thank you, Mr Mayor,”