MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE BOARD

HELD AT THE GUILDHALL, WREXHAM ON

TUESDAY, 10 SEPTEMBER 2013

 

MEMBERS

 

Councillor Neil Rogers, Chair

Councillor Mark Pritchard, Vice-Chair

 

Councillor

 

David A Bithell

Councillor

 

M C King, OBE

        

        

        

 

*

R J Dutton, OBE

D J Griffiths

Hugh Jones

        

        

        

 

Mrs J M Lowe

Carole O’Toole

Michael Williams

 

* Absent

 

Also present – Councillors Andrew Bailey, William Baldwin, I David Bithell MBE, Terry Boland, Brian Cameron, Dana Davies, T Alan Edwards, Anne Evans, R Alun Jenkins, David Kelly, MG Morris, John Pritchard, Mrs JMB Roberts, Graham Rogers, JR Skelland, David Taylor, Malcolm Taylor, Steve Wilson, Derek Wright and Phil Wynn.

 

42        APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

 

An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor D J Griffiths.

 

43        DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL INTERESTS

 

Councillor Mark Pritchard gave notice of his intention to declare a personal and prejudicial interest in respect of Agenda Item 7.

 

Councillor Neil Rogers gave notice of his intention to declare a personal interest in respect of Agenda Item 11.

 

Councillors Andrew Bailey and Carole O’Toole gave notice of their intention to declare a personal interest in respect of Agenda Item 18.

 

44        MINUTES

 

The Minutes of the Meetings held on 9 July 2013 and 16 July 2013 were submitted.

 

RESOLVED – That the Minutes of the Meetings of the Executive Board held on 9 July 2013 and 16 July 2013 be received and confirmed as a correct record.

 

45        WREXHAM LOCAL HOUSING STRATEGY 2013 – 18

 

The Lead Member for Housing and Planning submitted a report (HHPP/70/13) to seek Members approval of the Local Housing Strategy 2013 – 18.

 

The Lead Member reported that the Local Housing Strategy was based on local data, strategies and priorities and used three overarching strategic themes to set the direction of travel for housing and housing related issues throughout the County Borough.  The Strategy would be implemented through Delivery Plans, which would be reviewed annually having regard to the uncertain economic climate and future welfare reform changes.  The Lead Member also highlighted the significant consultation that had been undertaken in developing the Strategy.

 

In welcoming the Strategy Members made reference to the following:

 

·         Acknowledgement that the Strategy was written against a challenging background.

·         The need for Planning Policy to reflect Housing Strategy.

·         The links between the Strategy and the development of the Local Development Plan.

·         In response to a Member question the Lead Member provided an update on progress with the development of a Common Housing Register with other housing providers.

 

The Lead Member paid tribute to the work of Carole Cozens, Principal Housing Standards and Strategy Officer, who would soon be leaving the Authority, and conveyed his best wishes to her for the future.

 

RESOLVED – That the Local Housing Strategy 2013 – 18 as outlined in report HHPP/70/13 be approved.

 

Reason for decision

 

The Local Housing Strategy will set the direction of housing and housing related services in the County Borough for the next five years and will influence the shape of other strategic documents, such as the Local Development Plan. The evidence contained in the Local Housing Strategy will also act as a basis for future investment in housing and will be a source document for both the public and private sector on future housing needs in Wrexham.

 

46        AFFORDABLE HOUSING PROJECT – DISPOSAL OF SITES – PUBLIC OPEN SPACES NOTICES

 

The Lead Member for Housing and Planning submitted a report (PAW/08/13) to

seek Members approval to publish notices of the Council's intention to dispose of the sites comprising public open space at Whalleys Way, Acrefair and Nant Y Gaer Road, Llay to support the Affordable Housing Project.

 

The Lead Member reported that all Local Members had been consulted and were in full support of the proposals.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)         That the Head of Corporate and Customer Services be authorised to publish notice of the Council's intention to dispose of site at Whalleys Way, Acrefair (site reference 221) and site at Nant Y Gaer Road, Llay (site reference: 155) shown in Appendix A of report PAW/08/13 in accordance with Section 123 (2A) of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

(ii)        That the Head of Corporate and Customer Services be required to report to the Executive Board on any objections received to the intended disposal of the Whalleys Way and Nant Y Gear Road, Llay sites site but that in the absence of objections the land be disposed of as approved in report PAW/10/2012.

 

Reason for decision

 

To enable the provision of additional affordable housing throughout the County Borough

 

47        REVIEW OF RECYCLING CREDIT PAYMENTS

 

The Lead Member for Environment submitted a report (HE/13/13) to request Members to review the payment of recycling credits to third party organisations.

 

In presenting the report the Lead Member informed the Board that the Recycling Credit Scheme had been implemented to encourage recycling prior to the rollout of kerbside collections.  Wrexham Council was one of the few remaining local authorities currently paying recycling credits to third parties.  He further stressed that the recycling credits from Wrexham Council were received in addition to tonnage payments from third parties.

 

In considering the report Members made reference to the following matters:

 

·         The potential impact upon small organisations, voluntary and community groups and schools who had previously been in receipt of the credit payment.

·         Acknowledgement of the need to use the Waste Strategy Grant to best advantage.

·         A Member’s uncertainty whether the use of the financial resource arising from the withdrawal of the recycling credit payments, to improve the separate weekly food collection service, would result in improved recycling benefit for the Council.

 

RESOLVED – That the recycling credits scheme as outlined in report HE/13/13 be withdrawn.

 

Reason for decision

 

Withdrawing the payment of discretionary recycling credit payments will enable the Authority to use the financial resource to improve the separate weekly food waste collection service.

 

(Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Conduct for Members, Councillor Mark Pritchard declared a personal and prejudicial interest in respect of this matter (as a relative runs a recycling credit scheme for a third party organisation).  He left the room for the consideration of the item taking no part in the discussion or voting thereon).

 

48        SCRAP METAL DEALERS ACT 2013

 

The Lead Member Communities, Partnerships and Collaboration presented a report (HHPP/71/13) in the absence of the Lead Member for Health and Adult Social Care, to provide details in relation to the introduction of the Scrap Metal Act 2013 and of the Local Authority powers and duties under the Act.

 

In endorsing the report Members made reference to the impact of metal theft on the economy.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)         That the new licensing regime introduced by the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 be noted.

 

(ii)        That the Head of Housing and Public Protection be authorised to exercise all powers and duties of a Local Authority under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 save those detailed in recommendations (iii) and (iv) below.

 

(iii)       That the Head of Housing and Public Protection in consultation with the Lead Member for Health and Adult Social Care be authorised to set the fees for applications under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

 

(iv)      That it be recommended to Council that the Licensing Committee be authorised to determine applications for a Licence or a variation or revocation of a Licence where the applicant or licensee has requested the opportunity to make oral representations in response to a notice issued pursuant to paragraph 7 (i) of Schedule 1 of the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013.

 

Reason for decisions

 

To enable the Council to implement the provisions of the Scrap Metal Act 2013.

 

49        WELSH PUBLIC LIBRARY STANDARDS – ANNUAL REPORT 2012/13

 

The Lead Member for Communities, Partnerships and Collaboration submitted a report (HCWD/31/13) to seek Executive Board approval of the Welsh Public Library Standards Annual Report for 2012/13.

 

The Lead Member advised that the Annual Report highlighted that the Library and Information Service had performed very well during 2012/13 and it was anticipated that 6 of the standards would be achieved in full and 2 of the standards would be partly achieved.

 

RESOLVED – That the Executive Board approve the Welsh Public Library Standards Annual Report for 2012/13 as outlined in report HCWD/31/13.

 

Reason for decision

 

It is a requirement by the Welsh Government that the Annual Report should be approved by the Executive Board.

 

 

 

50        WELSH LANGUAGE ANNUAL MONITORING REPORT 2012/13

 

The Lead Member for Communities, Partnerships and Collaboration submitted a report (HCCS/101/13) to seek Executive Board approval for the Council’s Welsh Language Scheme Annual Report for 2012/13 prior to its submission to the Welsh Language Commissioner.

 

RESOLVED – That the 2012/13 Welsh Language Annual Monitoring Report as outlined in report HCCS/101/13 be approved for submission to the Welsh Language Commissioner.

 

Reasons for decision

 

(i)         To ensure that the Council carries out its duties with regard to the Welsh Language as outlined in the Welsh Language Scheme.

 

(ii)        To enable the Welsh Language Annual Monitoring Report for 2012/13 to be submitted to the Welsh Language Commissioner in accordance with their timetable.

 

51        APPOINTMENT TO OUTSIDE BODY – BRYMBO SPORTS AND SOCIAL COMPLEX

 

The Lead Member for Communities, Partnerships and Collaboration submitted a report HCCS/98/13 to consider the appointment of a Member or Officer to represent the Council on the Board of Directors at Brymbo Sports and Social Complex Limited.

 

In presenting the report the Lead Member paid tribute to the work of former Council employee Ken Danskin, who had represented the Council on the Board of Directors at Brymbo Sports and Social Complex Limited prior to his retirement.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)         That Mr Andy Harris, Leisure Services Manager, be appointed to replace Mr Ken Danskin on the Board of Directors of Brymbo Sports and Social Complex Limited.

 

(ii)        That this matter be dealt with as an urgent item of business in accordance with Standing Order 43(1) of the Council’s Standing Orders.

 

Reason for decisions

 

To ensure that the Council is appropriately represented on the Board of Directors of Brymbo Sports and Social Complex Limited Board of Directors at the meeting on 25 September 2013.

 

(Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Conduct for Members, Councillor Neil Rogers declared a personal but non prejudicial interest in respect of this matter (as a Council appointed representative on the Brymbo Sports and Social Complex Limited) and remained in the meeting for the discussion and voting thereon).

 

 

52        STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT ARRANGEMENTS FOR EVENTS

 

The Lead Member for Economic Development and Regeneration submitted a report (HAED/48/13) to inform Members about the strategic management arrangements for events, to seek support for the Events Strategy 2013-2017 and programme for 2013-14 and to seek approval to the transfer of the community events budget into the Assets and Economic Development Department's cash limited budget.

 

In presenting the report the Lead Member highlighted the benefits arising from staging high profile successful events in bringing substantial investment to communities, improving the local economy and raising the profile of the area.  The transfer of the community events budget into the Assets and Economic Development Department’s cash limited budget would streamline the delivery of events. 

 

Members welcomed the report and in debate made reference to the following matters:

 

·         The relationship between the Events Strategy and the Destination Management Plan.

·         Noted that consideration was being given to the development of an events calendar.

·         Positive and negative feedback concerning the recently held Etape Cymru event.  The Lead Member advised that following an evaluation of the effectiveness of the event, feedback would be provided to Members.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)         That  the Events Strategy for 2013-17 and Programme for 2013-14 as outlined in Appendix 1 to report HAED/48/13 be supported.

 

(ii)        That the transfer of the community events budget into the Assets and Economic Development department's cash limited budget with immediate effect be approved.

 

Reason for decisions

 

A single Head of Department responsible for events will result in a more co-ordinated and structured approach which will ensure events are well managed. Transferring the community events budget to the Assets and Economic Development Department will ensure that the budget can be allocated annually to an agreed events programme without the need for Executive Board approval each time.

 

53        FOCUSSED ON OUR PERFORMANCE 2012/13

 

The Lead Member for Policy, Finance, Performance and Governance submitted a report (CLF/20/13) to provide Members with an assessment of how well the Authority performed against the Council Plan in 2012/13 and ask for endorsement and recommendation to Council. This information will then be published as the Councils backward facing Council Plan ‘Focused on Our Performance 2012-13’ which the Council has a duty to publish by October 2013.

 

The Lead Member advised Members that the Plan had been developed to be more accessible to the public and focussed on improvements rather than targets.  Members were reminded that 2013/14 quarter 1 performance had demonstrated significant improvements.

 

Members welcomed the report commenting positively on its accessibility and in debate made particular reference to the following priority outcomes:

 

·         People: All children and young people have positive aspirations, learn and achieve their potential – In response to a question regarding educational improvements the Lead Member for Children’s Services and Education provided further information regarding the role of the Regional School Effectiveness and Improvement Service (GwE) in supporting and challenging schools to ensure that the level of improvements indicated in the provisional Summer 2013 key stage 4 results were maintained and further improved upon.

·         People: All people are enabled to make healthy choices – The challenge in demonstrating the positive impact that the various activities that the Council was involved in to improve the health and wellbeing of the people of Wrexham.  Reference was made to the range of factors that influenced obesity.

 

RESOLVED

 

(i)         That the Council Plan ‘Focused on our Performance 2012/13’ report, as outlined in Appendix 1 to report CLF/20/13, be recommended to Council for approval.

 

(ii)        That any amendments required before the report goes to Council are approved by the Lead Member.

 

Reason for decisions

 

To enable the Council to comply with the Local Government (2009) Measure and Wales Programme for Improvement Guidance and provide a public assessment of progress made against the Council Plan.

 

54        RELOCATION ALLOWANCE POLICY

 

The Lead Member for Policy, Finance, Performance and Governance submitted a report (HCCS/84/13) to seek Executive Board approval for the revised Relocation Allowance Policy.

 

RESOLVED – That the Relocation Allowance Policy as outlined in report HCCS/84/13 be approved for implementation on 1 October 2013.

 

Reason for decision

 

To ensure the Authority has up to date Policies and Procedures in place which enable the Council to provide financial assistance towards the cost of moving home when relocating as a result of taking up an appointment with Wrexham County Borough Council when eligibility criteria are met.

 

55        WEBCASTING AND REMOTE ATTENDANCE OF COUNCIL MEETINGS

 

The Lead Member for Policy, Finance, Performance and Governance submitted a report (HCCS/103/13) to consider the potential for, and implications of, webcasting of council meetings and facilitating remote attendance by Members as required by the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011, to highlight the options available in terms of the grant provided by Welsh Government and to gain support for the preferred option identified in the report.

 

In presenting the report the Lead Member advised the Board that the Welsh Government had allocated funding of £40,000 to local authorities in Wales to assist with the introduction of remote attendance at and webcasting of council meetings.  It was anticipated that webcasting of council meetings would strengthen public engagement with local democracy.

 

Members considered the report and made reference to the following matters in debate:

 

·         The practical and legal difficulties associated with remote attendance at council meetings.

·         The benefits of webcasting which included improved transparent governance and accountability.

·         Concern regarding the funding allocation from the Welsh Government to facilitate public engagement and to enable remote attendance by councillors at council meetings, at a time when local authorities across Wales were facing significantly reduced funding for the delivery of public services.

·         A Member proposed that a cross party working group be established to evaluate the success of the pilot and to make recommendations regarding future development.  It was suggested that feedback on the success of the pilot could instead be provided to the Review of Political Management Arrangements Working Group.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)            That the Welsh Government allocated funding of £40,000 be accepted to facilitate a Member(s) to attend a meeting remotely utilising the Council’s own portable video conferencing facility as a pilot.

 

(ii)       That part of the funding be utilised to lease a webcasting system for a pilot period, with the remainder to fund the purchase of a more modern, bespoke committee administration computer package.

 

(iii)      That Council be recommended to support and approve the approach contained in this report.

 

(iv)      That feedback regarding the progress of the webcasting and remote attendance pilots be submitted to the Political Management Arrangements Working Group.

 

Reason for decisions

 

To comply with the requirements of the Local Government (Wales) Measure 2011 in terms of remote attendance and to strengthen public engagement with local democracy in general, giving maximum potential to exploit the full benefits of the chosen system during the pilot period.

 

56        FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME OCTOBER 2013 TO JANUARY 2014

 

The Lead Member for Policy, Finance, Performance and Governance submitted a report (HCCS/99/13) to approve the current list of items included in the Forward Work Programme for the period October 2013 to January 2014.

 

RESOLVED – That the Forward Work Programme as outlined in report HCCS/99/13 be approved.

 

Reason for decision

 

To approve the current list of items included in the Forward Work Programme.

 

57        PRESS AND PUBLIC

 

Agenda Item 18 - Not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 15 of Part 4 of Schedule 12a to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).  Members determined in considering this report that Paragraph 15 should apply. Their view on the public interest test was that while they were mindful of the need to ensure that transparency and accountability of public authorities for decisions taken by them they were satisfied that in this case disclosure of the information would prejudice the discussion in relation to labour relations to the disadvantage of the authority and inhabitants of its area. On that basis they felt that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

Agenda Items 19 and 20 - Not for publication by virtue of Paragraph 14 of Part 4 of Schedule 12a to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended). Members determined in considering this report that Paragraph 14 should apply. Their view on the public interest test was that while they were mindful of the need to ensure the transparency and accountability of public authorities for decisions taken by them in relation to the spending of public money, the right of a third party to the privacy of their financial business affairs outweighed the need for that information to be made public.

 

RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the Meeting during consideration of the following items as it is likely that, if they were present, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information as defined in Paragraphs 14 and 15 of Part 4 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended).

 

58        RESHAPING SERVICES TO MEET THE FINANCIAL CHALLENGES

 

The Lead Member for Policy, Finance, Performance and Governance submitted a report (LR/17/13) to outline the future shape of the Authority, to note the progress updates on some of the activities that were agreed to ‘progress to the next stage’ by Executive Board in July, to consider the options appraisal for a range of services from the Environment department and to progress to the next stage on some further identified projects/work contained within the ‘package’, including lean interventions and the relevant legal requirements.

 

The Lead Member outlined the key proposals contained within the report, referring to the bleak financial outlook facing Local Authorities and the anticipated shortfall for Wrexham County Borough Council of at least £34m over the next five years.  He stated that in order to make the necessary savings it was essential that savings opportunities previously identified were progressed and today’s report included additional proposals for Member approval.  Members were reminded that reshaping services required a fundamental review of areas and was focussed on both improving services and enabling delivery at a lower cost.  Members had previously agreed that the Council should be a provider/enabler of fewer more targeted services with a greater need for communities to take responsibility and therefore policies would be developed to enable them to develop and thrive.  Communication with the public would be vital and a communications plan would be developed accordingly.

 

Underpinning the process of change and the statements agreed by the Executive Board at the previous meeting, four principles were proposed for approval by Members at paragraph 4.12 of the report to outline how the Council as an organisation will work in the future.

 

The Lead Member then moved the recommendations contained in the report which were duly seconded.

 

Members thanked the Lead Member for the report and, during a lengthy debate, discussed in detail issues relating to:

 

·         The pressure on the Council budget arising from Welsh Government cuts.

·         Consensus regarding the need to make fundamental changes to service delivery and that these were extremely unpalatable times for local authorities.  It was therefore essential to develop a long term financial plan which included a mixture of medium and long term projects.

·         Clarity was sought regarding the long term direction for the Council.  Members were reminded that the July meeting had highlighted the factors to have in place to help people through the change journey and in addition, the four principles outlined in paragraph 4.12 of today’s report, which Members were requested to approve, would outline how the Council intended to work in the future.

·         Some concern was expressed regarding the impact on local communities of some of the proposals contained in the report and the need for Members to be enabled to support local communities to become more involved in alternative delivery arrangements was highlighted.

·         Clarification was sought regarding the proposed increase in Environment Department fees and charges.  It was noted that the proposed increase of 20% would be applied as outlined in paragraphs 4.20 – 4.28 of the report.

·         The challenge of ensuring that cost shunting did not occur as an unintended consequence of change.  This would be considered as part of the risk assessment process.

·         The role of Scrutiny in reviewing proposals for change.

·         Soft market testing exercise for service delivery options – it was confirmed that at this stage there was no commitment to any specific delivery option.

·         Workforce review project – it was confirmed that any release of staff who had expressed an interest in VER/VR would be subject to the needs of the service and support the Council’s objective of reshaping services.

·         The importance of transparent and meaningful communication with the public and employees.  Members were requested to agree to the development of a communications plan as outlined in paragraph 4.16 of the report.

·         A desire expressed by Members to consider reports regarding the reshaping of services in open session wherever possible.  The Lead Member confirmed that requests to make information exempt from publication were rigorously challenged, however, in certain circumstances, it was necessary to restrict disclosure of information.

·         A request by some Members for more detailed information regarding the significant changes proposed in the report.  The Lead Member confirmed that all Members would be provided with as much information as they required in relation to the proposals.

·         Some concern was expressed regarding the number and potential impact of changes proposed in the report.  The Lead Member reminded Members of the size of the budget saving required and the pace at which the savings were required to be made in order to address the funding shortfall.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)         That the following four key principles about the way the Council will work as an organisation in the future, be agreed:

 

·         Where ever possible answering customer queries at the first point of contact.

·         Services to focus on quality service delivery or managing contracts.

·         Minimise transactional activity.

·         Understand that the Council need to be regulated and performance managed but these functions will reduce proportionately to the size of the organisation.

 

(ii)        That the lean partner appointment and work be extended to the whole Authority, as outlined in paragraph 4.13 of report LR/17/13.

 

(iii)       That the development of a communications plan to enable conversations with the public, as outlined in paragraph 4.16 of report LR/17/13 be agreed.

 

(iv)      That the further progress of the departmental and corporate and cross-cutting projects be noted.

 

(v)       That a 20% increase across Environment Department fees and charges be applied, applicable from 1 October 2013 with the exception of those services provided on an annual contract/agreement basis, when the new fees would be applied from 1 April 2014. That this matter be dealt with as an urgent item of business in accordance with Standing Order 43 (1) of the Council’s Standing Orders.

 

(vi)      That authority be delegated to the relevant Strategic and Performance Director (Phil Walton) in consultation with the Head of Finance and the Head of Corporate and Customer Services, to carry out a soft market testing exercise for the delivery of the following services, to procure as necessary specialist advice and support and to report back to the Executive Board on the results of the soft market testing and the way forward:

 

·         Highway Maintenance

·         Recycling/Waste Collection

·         Street Cleansing

·         Grounds Maintenance

·         Fleet Maintenance

·         Street Lighting

·         Winter Maintenance

·         Depots/Workshop

 

(vii)     That the proposals for savings from the fleet review as outlined in paragraph 4.29 of report LR/17/13 be approved for implementation.

 

(viii)    That the progression to the next stage of the additional ‘general reductions’ savings outlined in paragraph 4.46 of report LR/17/13 and shown in bold within the table at appendix 1 of the report be approved, subject to carrying out the necessary assessments and consultations, where any of the proposals may have staffing, equality or risk implications.  In such circumstances, officers be authorised to consult and carry out assessments as necessary in accordance with the law and adopted Council policies and procedures, and options, following those assessments and consultations, be reported back for further consideration.

 

(ix)      That it be noted that the Council is developing policies in respect of:

i)  bio diversity and green environment

ii) enabling local communities to thrive and develop

 

Reasons for decisions

 

(i)         To plan for the difficult medium/long term financial situation whilst reshaping services and prioritising the most vulnerable.

 

(ii)        Standing Order 43 (1) is required to enable the commencement of

resolution (v) with effect from 1st October 2013.

 

(iii)       To assess the feasibility and market interest in the proposed Streetscene/Highways project.

 

(iv)      To enable consultation on the areas identified to enable informed decisions to be made at the next stages.

 

(Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Conduct for Members, Councillors Andrew Bailey and Carole O’Toole both declared a personal but non prejudicial interest in respect of this matter (Councillor Bailey as the spouse of an allotment tenant and Councillor O’Toole as relative of a Council employee), remaining in the meeting for the discussion and voting thereon).

 

59        REDWITHER CENTRAL, WREXHAM INDUSTRIAL ESTATE – FINAL PREPARATORY WORKS AND DISPOSAL ARRANGEMENTS

 

The Lead Member for Economic Development and Regeneration submitted a report (HAED/50/13) to seek approval for the final site clearance works and terms for disposal of the Redwither Central site, Wrexham Industrial Estate, for redevelopment.

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)         That the Head of Assets and Economic Development be authorised to proceed immediately with the final demolition works at Redwither Central, Wrexham Industrial Estate.

 

(ii)        That the Head of Assets and Economic Development be authorised to negotiate and conclude the sale of the site shown hatched on Appendix A of report HAED/50/13, extending to approximately 2.99 hectares, to the company identified in the report, including the ability to make any final modification to the boundary of the site prior to sale, as required in order to secure the most effective development of the site.

 

(iii)       That the reinvestment of the net proceeds of sale in the Economic Development Commercial Estate be noted.

 

(iv)      That this matter be dealt with as an urgent item of business in accordance with Standing Order 43(1) of the Council’s Standing Orders to enable the Council to proceed expeditiously with the demolition, and to enter into the proposed legal agreement for the sale of the land, facilitating completion before the end of the year.

 

Reason for decisions

 

To complete the preparation of this important redevelopment site and enable a successful local business to expand, whilst generating a capital receipt for reinvestment in the Economic Development Commercial Estate.

 

60        FORMER FIRESTONE SITE – WREXHAM INDUSTRIAL ESTATE – NORTH WALES PRISON (UPDATE)

 

The Lead Member for Economic Development and Regeneration and Lead Member for Communities, Collaboration and Partnerships submitted a joint report (LR/16/13) to inform Members of the announcement by the Justice Secretary that a new prison,

which could hold around 2,000 prisoners, will be built at the former Firestone Site,

Wrexham Industrial Estate, to provide an update on subsequent discussions

between the Council, the Ministry of Justice and the Welsh Government and to seek

agreement on the proposed land matters.

 

In presenting the report the Lead Member wished to place on record his thanks to the officer support team for their work in relation to the project which would result in a major boost to Wrexham’s economy.  It was reported that a series of public previews, to which residents and local businesses would be invited to attend, would be held by the Ministry of Justice during September.  The Lead Member further wished to convey his thanks to the North Wales Leaders Board, partners from across the public sector and cross border support for backing Wrexham’s bid for the North Wales Prison.

 

Several Members conveyed their thanks to the Leader of the Council and to officers for their work in relation to the bid, commenting positively on the potential benefits for Wrexham’s economy.

 

A Member sought clarification on specific issues contained within the report at paragraphs 2 and 4.19 which were responded to by the Lead Member.  It was noted that discussions with the Ministry of Justice were still ongoing in relation to several matters and Members would be kept informed of progress.

 

Reference was made to the wording contained in paragraph 2 of the report and it was requested that the wording in recommendation 3.4 be amended as follows:

“…Welsh Government with any surplus available for reinvestment in the Economic Development Commercial Estate.”

 

RESOLVED –

 

(i)         That the announcement by the Ministry of Justice, which will provide a major boost to the regional economy, be welcomed.

 

(ii)        That the Head of Assets and Economic Development in consultation with the Lead Member and Local Member be authorised to negotiate and conclude the acquisition of land shown hatched on Appendix C of report LR/16/13, extending to 19.00 ha, at the former Firestone Site, Wrexham Industrial Estate, from the Welsh Government.

 

(iii)       That the Head of Assets and Economic Development in consultation with the Lead Member and Local Member be authorised to negotiate and conclude the sale of the site shown cross hatched on Appendix C of report LR/16/13, extending to 2.81 ha, to the company referred to in paragraph 2 of the report.

 

(iv)      That the Head of Assets and Economic Development be authorised to utilise the net sale proceeds from the disposal of land at the former Firestone site, Wrexham Industrial Estate to support the cost of the long term ecological management of the land acquired from the Welsh Government with any surplus available for reinvestment in the Economic Development Commercial Estate.

 

Reason for decisions

 

To note this major boost to Wrexham’s economy, created by the establishment of the proposed new Prison, and enable a successful local business to expand, whilst generating a capital receipt for reinvestment in future developments.

 

 

 

Councillor Neil Rogers

Chair