Venue: Microsoft Teams
Contact: Rebecca Johnstone
Apologies were received from:
Please note that the meeting took place via Teams video calling
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were received.
No comments or corrections received and signed off as a true record. Any matters arising are covered in the agenda.
Reaffirmation of Terms of Reference
The Chair took the opportunity to remind all Board members of the Terms of Reference all Board members agreed to when the Board was formed, including the Nolan Principles and issues around confidentiality. We are all here for the town and personal interests should be subjugated to the aim of achieving the £25m.
Stephen Watson (SW) reaffirmed this saying that the focus must remain on the Board and is not about ‘the council’ or individual organisations or people.
Referring to the comms approach, the chair stressed the importance to build on the initial enthusiasm and positive momentum which has come through consultation, but also important to ensure that the public comms for the board is led by the board in order to keep it coherent.
The communications protocol was stressed to all that politicisation of their position on the Board and any public communications that individual Board members put out regarding the Board should be as the voice of the Board and not for their own gain or as a political opinion.
The Chair also covered meeting protocol including using the ‘raise hand’ function and to mute microphones when not speaking.
NB: Some Board members did have trouble with this functionality during the meeting. This was not down to a setting imposed by the administrator but is believed to be down to different versions of the Microsoft Teams software which were in use. Comments made in the chat function, where relevant to agenda items have been included in these minutes.
Updated Guidance & Towns Hub
Timeline for Cohort 1 (July 2020) and Cohort 2 (October 2020)
Timeline for Cohort 1 (July 2020) and Cohort 2 (October 2020)
The Chair welcomed Kim Cooper (KC) from Arup, who are the lead delivery partner on the Towns Hub. KC introduced herself and advised that the Towns Hub role is to provide expertise and support the Board through the bid submission and that she was looking forward to working with the Board.
SW gave an overview that the updated guidance was released and shared a couple of weeks ago, as part of the weekly updates now being issued, when there is information to share with the Board.
The guidance states that we must declare to the Towns Hub by 15th July 2020, which cohort submission date the town are targeting. We have always worked towards a July submission date and lot of work has been put in to get us to a good position of readiness at this time.
SW talked through the timeline and risks and benefits on a Cohort 1 (July 31st) submission, with the main risks highlighted as there currently being: an insufficient level of project detail; and failing to meet the expectations set out in the consultation and engagement, if the bid is submitted only 10 days after the consultation has closed. The engagement taking place is not tokenistic and we want to pay full diligence to the ideas being put forward by the public.
SW put forward that Cohort 2 (31st October) gives 16 weeks lead in to the bid and there are some additional benefits to targeting this date including the opportunity to learn from the ‘new normal’ across retail, hospitality return to workplaces and the new academic year, all these sectors will be learning over the next few months, which will inform our Town Investment Plan (TIP).
Secondly, the quality of engaement has greater scope to do a second round of engagement and an opportunity to engage schools and young people. Board member Ian Raikes facilitated a meeting with all the secondary and primary school head teachers in Southport and it is proposed that on 11/09/20 we will hold a session with the school councils in order for them to be a greater part of the town deal. This would capture engagement from Year 2 to Year 12 this will capture input and feedback into the bid from thousands of schoolchildren from across Southport.
Also, opportunity to establish a Shadow Board with college students.
The Chair clarified that the task of the board today was to agree which cohort to submit in.
Comments from the Board:
Rob Fletcher: Agree, July is too quick to get it together and gather all the feedback which should be integrated into the TIP. The guidance makes it clear that the impacts of Covid-19 are an important part of the TIP, also the school’s engagement could be very powerful.
Agnes Ng: Agrees, October submission is more realistic.
Marion Atkinson (MA) asked for more detail on the additional costs and resource associated with an October ... view the full minutes text for item 43.
Consultation and Masterplan Update
Richard Laming (RL) from Turley presented an overview of the work since the last meeting on the public consultation.
Consultation was launched through Sefton’s ‘Your Sefton Your Say’ site on Monday 29th and will run to Monday 20th July. It is broken down into 5 themes with a series of Big Ideas in these themes
There is a survey asking responders to prioritise the top 3 for these and an open question for qualitative data on their ideas
As of Friday last week, there have been over 600 surveys completed online.
The consultation is being promoted through different media including the local press (The Champion) and regional property and regeneration media outlets (Place Northwest). This is sparking interest not just locally, but also investors outside the town, so a good profile-raising exercise.
RL also thanked Andrew Brown and the efforts put into the Stand up For Southport Facebook page which has received over 700 comments posted on the Town Deal pages. These are less structed responses than those in the consultation – but are being monitored as part of the consultation. RL noted that it is heartening and encouraging to see so much interest and engagement from local groups such as those in Ainsdale, those with an interest in the historic parks and gardens and the Southport Skate park making their views know. A new group called Save STCC is also developing some momentum.
The challenge now is to sustain the momentum of the engagement going forward.
Summary of consultation feedback to date provided to Board – not to be published at this stage to avoid inadvertently influencing ongoing consultation process.
Next steps after 20th July will be to analyse the responses and group the responses against the themes to give the Board the priorities.
There will be other important issues raised by the consultation that will need to be dealt with outside of the Town Deal process
Comments from the board:
· ML: The Board have now agreed to an October submission date so should the end date of the consultation be extended? RL advised that there are diminishing returns the longer the consultation goes on, But if we have extra time, we could close the online process, then thank and acknowledge the consultees who took part and keep the consultation email address open over the summer to keep the conversation going.
· RL noted that the aspect which has been missed due to Covid-19 restrictions has been having something in the town such as a pop-up event like us taking over BHS or Beales and having an interactive event
SP noted in the chat: We have had permission from Wayfarer’s Arcade to use a unit there. I'm sure they will allow us to use Beales (depending on when their lease officially ends?)
Keith Molloy addedperhaps we could consider a temporary open access exhibition eg in Wayfarers where this could be attended/supported on certain days but allowed 'casual' viewing throughout. Evidence of this approach working well elsewhere ... view the full minutes text for item 44.
Key Project Updates
· Southport Theatre and Convention Centre
· Digital and Creativity Hub - Update
· Capital grant award 2020-21
Southport Theatre and Convention Centre
SW introduced Mark Catherall (MC) to give an update on the work to date and options for the STC, which is a key project and highlighted as an important asset for the town in the consultation
MC went through his presentation noting the content as confidential due to commercial nature of the project.
The Chair thanked MC for a very interesting presentation adding that is good to see its aspiration to bring the lake into better use and anticipates that it will generate a huge amount of interest with the public.
SP noted that the impact of conferences on the business community and the rest of the town should not be under estimated
DJ added that this is a really exciting project and is incredibly ambitious and has the power to galvanise the town deal. There are two issues to consider 1. The big financial ask of the project and how partners can be brought in and 2. The appropriateness of adjacent residential. TBC how this fits into the Town Investment Plan. Route is to get the vision agreed first and then see STCC in the whole context.
AB noted that this project was a good opportunity to get smaller community groups into that space and agrees that from experience there would be debate around residential on the marine lake.
DJ commented that here are lots of options in terms of bringing in business partners, and also with the LCR Combined Authority who are committed to supporting Southport and the STCC and the council has written to ministers for any financial support. Think there would be private sector interest in this.
The Chair considered that now we have agreed an if an October submission perhaps we will have greater clarity by then.
SW added that from the TIP we will progress the vison for STCC and there will be arrange of other projects and linking in with other funding opportunities – using the £25m to stimulate other investment.
PH noted it was a very impressive presentation and demonstrates that the business model for the town doesn’t function without off season and midweek stimulation - which is what the conference centre brings. He stressed that the consequences of not doing this are not good and we must do this project.
AN commented that this the project shows good design ideas
JB agreed a good presentation & agreement on existing theatre condition.
NW agreed this is definitely something we need in the town and connectivity is something to major on with government as need to get people here.
M Allen highlighted again that there is no limit now on the £25m ask, so the Board could consider putting forward this sort of ambitious project.
NW commented that he would agree with this in order to be bold.
The Chair summed that it is clear the development is critical and will feed into everything else and that the ambition should not be limited.
ML noted that from his experience ... view the full minutes text for item 45.
SW highlighted that we need to sustain the pace, we will continue to provide weekly updates, subcommittees should continue to meet and where necessary we will seek feedback outside of the meeting cycle.
SW thanked the Board for their continued support and input.
Date of Next Meeting
Tuesday 4th August 2020, 8:30am