Economic Development and Corporate Issues Scrutiny Panel – 7 July 2008

PRESENT:  Councillor Smith in the chair.

Councillors Ali, Appleyard, Bainbridge, Barkworth, Berry and Waltham.

The panel met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.

61  DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND DECLARATIONS OF WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY) – The following member declared a personal interest in the following matter: –

Member Minute Subject & Nature of Interest
Councillor M Ali 64 Licence Holder

No whip was declared.

62  PUBLIC SPEAKING – There were no requests from members of the public to address the Scrutiny Panel.

63  MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of this Panel held on 9 June 2008, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and signed by the chair.


(i) Overview of the work undertaken by the North Lincolnshire Flood Forum – Update from the Service Director Highways and Planning – Geoff Popple, Service Director Highways and Planning, was invited to address the panel.  He was accompanied by Rob Beales, Manager Better Routes, and Rod Chapman, Asset Team Manager.  Geoff Popple explained that unlike other areas within the country, North Lincolnshire had experienced flooding throughout the county, rather than just localised areas.  This had been caused by an unprecedented amount of rainfall, totalling 250mm between 9th and 25th June 2007, which increased the level of local bore holes from 4 metres to 10 metres throughout the region.

The panel was reminded thatunlike other councils, North Lincolnshire had been faced with the additional problem of the main council building, Pittwood House, having been flooded.  This had wiped out all of the council’s telecommunication and computer system, leaving the public with no emergency contact for the council.  Coordination of the emergency plans had been managed by the use of mobile phones.

Members were advised of the amount of work that had been undertaken by the council and partner agencies, tankering water to alternative sites, sandbags, clearance of ditches and drainage systems, setting up the North Lincolnshire Flood Forum, attendance at 42 parish council meetings and, setting up of emergency plans for similar future occurrences.  In total, 527 flood related incidents had been addressed, with additional occurrences in January 2008.

Geoff Popple advised the panel that the work had been recognised by Sir Michael Pitt, and that he, Councillor L Foster Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood, Environmental and Communities, and Simon Driver Chief Executive North Lincolnshire Council had been invited to discuss work undertaken and progress made.  National recognition had been given to the achievements, and at the time it was recognised that no other council had done more to assist the public following the floods last year.

Members engaged in further discussion with the Service Director, and received further information on the Multi Agency Flood Forum, how the telecommunication system for the council had now been relocated to a safer and more ideal site with additional backup, the continuation of the work undertaken by the Flood Forum and whether the reorganisation of the drainage board would have a detrimental effect on the relationships that had been forged within the multi agency team.

Resolved – (a) That Geoff Popple and his officers be acknowledged for the amount of work that had been undertaken and the achievements they had made so far, (b) that Geoff Popple, Rob Beales and Rod Chapman be thanked for their attendance and, (c) that the position be noted.

(ii) North Lincolnshire Markets – Update from the Head of Commercial, Property and Tourism – The Chair advised members that Paul Taylor, Head of Commercial, Property and Tourism had been invited to attend and give a brief outline on the structure and economic well being of North Lincolnshire’s Markets.

Paul Taylor explained that North Lincolnshire had three main markets which were held in Scunthorpe, Ashby and Brigg, and that these were supplemented by the monthly Brigg farmers market, and also the international market that visited Scunthorpe high street.

The panel was advised that Scunthorpe market had seen a decline in occupied stalls, income, visitors and a relative decline in the attraction to the town centre.  Ashby market had a strong presence on Thursday, although it had seen a decline in the number of traders and income.  Brigg however had seen a recent decline in the number of stalls at its weekly market, but the farmers market held every fourth Saturday had drawn visitors back to the market concept.

Members were asked to consider where they saw markets, as an income earner for the council, an attraction to the town centre or as an economic driver/ employer for the area.  Paul explained that all of these were key aspects of a thriving market, but needed to be addressed with differing solutions.

Members engaged in further discussion around the advertising of the markets, the age of the visitors and whether it was conceived as appealing only to the older generation, the state of the stalls and buildings, the proposed relocation of Scunthorpe market and the effect that this would have on the economy in the high street as a whole and the lack of investment/budget available

Resolved – (a) That further information be obtained by the Service Director Legal and Democratic on the relocation proposals, costs and timescales, (b) that a sub group

meeting be arranged to scope a review on 21 July 2008 and, (c) that Paul Taylor Head of Commercial, Property and Tourism be thanked for his attendance.

65  OVERVIEW OF THE LOCAL AREA AGREEMENT (LAA) TARGETS – Update from the Manager of the Local Strategic Partnership – The Service Director Legal and Democratic explained to the panel that Matthew Cridge, Manager of the Local Strategic Partnership had been invited to give insight into the new LAA targets.

Matthew Cridge advised that these were the second generation of local indicators, and outlined 35 ambitions for the authority.

Members engaged in discussion over the indicators and how these would be monitored and reviewed.

Resolved – (a) That Matthew Cridge Manager of the Local Strategic Partnership and Marcus Walker Thematic Lead for Economic Development be invited to attend a future meeting to discuss the first set of results once available, (b) that the panel consider targeting five indicators once further information is available and, (c) that the position be noted.

66  (3)  LEADER OF THE COUNCILS FORWARD PLAN – JULY TO OCTOBER 2008 – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the Leader of North Lincolnshire Council’s Forward Plan for July to October 2008.

The plan contained details of all matters and issues likely to be the subject of key decisions for a period of the next four months, updated on a monthly basis.

Resolved – (a) That the Leader of the Council’s Forward Plan for July to October 2008 be noted and, (b) that an officer from Highways and Planning be invited to attend a future meeting to give insight into the Decriminalisation of on-street parking enforcement.

67  ADDED ITEM – There was no added item for discussion at this meeting.