Agenda and minutes

Culture and Visitor Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 23rd May, 2017 7.00 pm

Venue: Witham Room - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

Items
No. Item

Before commencing the formal business of the meeting, those present observed a minute’s silent as a mark of respect to those affected by the previous day’s events in Manchester.

1.

Membership

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    The Committee to be notified of any substitute members.

    Minutes:

    The Committee was notified that Councillor Ray Wootten would be substituting for Councillor Mrs. Smith for this meeting only.

2.

Disclosure of Interests

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    Members are asked to declare any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.

    Minutes:

    No interests were disclosed.

3.

Consideration of the remit and work programme of the Culture and Tourism Overview and Scrutiny Committee

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    To consider the remit and the work programme of the Culture and Tourism Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

    Minutes:

    The Chairman invited those Members present to speak about any special skills or interests they could bring to the committee’s work and their previous committee experience. A number of members stated that they were particularly interested in tourism and promoting the district’s assets. One member talked about their involvement in specific tourism and arts projects, including the recent literary festival in the Deepings, while another said that they were particularly interested in finding ways to engage young people.

     

    The Chairman circulated a briefing sheet to members of the Committee that gave an overview of the role of scrutiny and the powers of a scrutiny committee. It highlighted the conditions that led to effective scrutiny, the importance of work programming and different ways of working.

     

    The briefing document also included suggested items that might fall within the remit of the Committee, with possible topics including arts, fairs, festivals, heritage, historic parks and gardens, leisure centres, tourism, farmers’ markets and market towns, and sports, sports development and health and fitness. A suggestion was made that the Councillor who had spearheaded the Deepings Literary Festival could make a presentation to the Committee about the event and its organisation.

     

    The Cabinet Member with responsibility for Culture was given the opportunity to explain his vision about the use of culture as a key driver to develop the district and the importance of engaging with communities.

     

    Members of the Committee were invited to put forward areas in which they were interested.

     

    Discussion ensued around signage at key gateways within the district with specific reference being made to the area near Grantham railway station. There was a view that street signage could be improved to guide visitors around the town centre. Members also felt that signage for the district’s attractions could be improved, citing examples of similar work in other parts of the country. The Cabinet Members that were present advised the Committee that, as part of discussions prior to the development of a new tourism strategy, the issue of signage had been raised. It was acknowledged that the quality of signage to attractions in the district varied and would need developing as part of the tourism and cultural strategies. The County Council’s role in this was noted.

     

    Members spoke about opportunities to signpost visitors to the St. Wulfram’s area of Grantham and the nearby heritage assets. Reference was also made to a report that was commissioned about the area when it had been announced that St. Wulfram’s Church was under consideration for Minster status. A request was made that a copy of the heritage report be circulated to members of the Committee.

     

    A suggestion was made that there might be opportunities to work with Grantham Civic Society to help promote tourism in Grantham. Additionally, Members agreed that more needed to be done to promote the whole district.

     

    The Cabinet Member stated that one project he hoped would be incorporated in the development of the Tourism Strategy was linking up different attractions. He stated that a lot  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Consideration of any Member Training needs to support the Culture and Tourism Overview and Scrutiny Committee

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    For consideration to be given to any Member training that may be required for the Culture and Tourism Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

    Minutes:

    Members were advised that generic overview and scrutiny training had taken place during May 2017, the slides for which were available on request from the Community Engagement and Policy Development Officer. The next relevant training session for scrutiny members was on 24 July 2017 and would concentrate on research methods and questioning skills.

     

    If any member had any training requirements specific to the remit of the Committee, they were asked to advise the Community Engagement and Policy Development Officer. One member requested that training be available in different formats – she suggested it would be useful to have a video or podcast of one-off sessions so that those members who were unable to attend could still benefit from the training.

5.

Wyndham Park improvement project: background and objectives pdf icon PDF 139 KB

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    Report FM0005 of the Cabinet Member for HR and Cultural Services.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Officers were invited to give a presentation on the Wyndham Park Improvement Project. The project recognised the importance of green space in attracting families to an area and Wyndham Park was considered an excellent asset for Grantham and the wider district, which the Council had a duty to maintain. Through the project the council had developed a good relationship with the Heritage Lottery Fund that led to a successful grant award. The park had also received WREN funding for work in the paddling pool area.

     

    The Business Manager, Venue and Facilities Management drew members’ attention to performance measures included in report number FM0005. He specifically highlighted an improvement in trip advisor ranking of local attractions from ninth in 2014 to seventh in 2017, the total of 568 volunteer hours in 2017 and the visitor total of 608,820 visitors in the same year.

     

    Members were advised that the park, which covered 10 acres, was opened in 1924. Sedgewick Meadows, which adjoined the park, was managed by the National Trust. The Trust was keen to talk and work with the Council on the development of that part of the park. The park also included a 1.8 mile walk that ran by the river, linking Dysart Park with Queen Elizabeth Park. This footpath link had proved popular with the Green Flag inspectors.

     

    One of the conditions of the Heritage Lottery Funding was that the park had to host two significant events, the first in 2017 (a Shakespeare in the Park project with Grantham College) and the second in 2018 (a centenary event to commemorate the centenary of the end of the First World War) after the project had been completed. Work was on track for completion ahead of schedule, with the estimated finish date moving from August 2018 to April/May 2018. It was intended that these major events would complement the existing seasonal offer at Christmas and Halloween. Further events and promotional work were being facilitated by an Activities Officer, a role that was fully funded until late 2018 through the Heritage Lottery Fund.

     

    The presentation included images of how the park used to look and gave details of the capital works that had been planned for the park including diagrams and elevations. The project included the restoration of the former ticket office, the memorial shelter and the memorial archway and the conversion of the former swimming pool plant room to a visitor centre and the swimming pool to a boating lake.

     

    As part of the project, the Council’s grounds maintenance contractor had also taken on an apprentice who would work with one of the master gardeners and receive training through a local college.

     

    Tender documents for the project were currently subject to advert on the Procurement Lincolnshire website, with building works expected to commence in September 2017. Officers highlighted the biggest risk as the actual costs exceeding estimated levels.

     

    It was reported that the park had an active forum, while work with schools and young people had generated a wider community project.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Close of meeting

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    Minutes:

    The meeting was closed at 20:19.