Agenda and minutes
Venue: Studio 1, Guildhall Arts Centre, St Peter's Hill, Grantham NG31 6PZ
Contact: Anita Eckersley
Declaration of interests
Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.
No declarations of interest were disclosed.
The Action notes from the meeting held on 17 October 2018 were noted.
It was noted that Councillor Mike Cook was not in attendance at the previous meeting.
Updates from previous meetings
A Member queried whether the comment in the action notes regarding increased footfall at Grantham market was correct. A request was made for the Committee to receive detailed statistics in respect of the footfall and work being undertaken to increase footfall in respect of the four town markets. Reference was also made to the £42K set aside for markets mentioned in the Q2 Financial Monitoring Report 2018/19.
The Vice Chairman referred to the County Council meeting he would be chairing to look at revitalising town centres noting it would take place in the New Year.
Further discussion took place on themed markets, living accommodation above shops, an holistic approach being required, individual requirements for each market, pedestrianisationof town centres, a co-ordinated strategy for the markets, enhancing the retail experience, business rate relief, subsidies, congestion and parking.
Wherry’s Lane Bourne: The Vice Chairman noted that the first “sod” had been dug at the Wherry’s Lane site in Bourne and the project was due for completion in twelve months’ time.
Disabled Facilities Grant: The Committee was provided with an update on the Disabled Facilities Grant. Information regarding the Disabled Facilities Grant had been sent to the South Lincolnshire Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB) which they would be promoting. GP Surgeries had also been reminded of the grant and would be featuring this in their next newsletter. A non-Key decision had been taken by the Cabinet Member for Housing to temporarily lift the “means testing” in respect of applications for stair lifts and modular access ramps. A total of five applications had been received to date, which was higher than normal. In addition, the County Council were recruiting 7 Community Care Officers and work was being done to make the grant application process slicker.
Members welcomed the changes and the non-key decision but commented that it would be important to reduce underspends. It was noted that an underspend was still forecast at the end of the year.
That the Head of Town Centres provides a report that includes statistical information and details of the scoping work regarding increasing footfall in the four town markets at the next meeting of the Committee.
The Chairman referred to the active programme of work taking place across the District and invited the Cabinet Member for Finance to present the Quarter 2 Financial Management Report 2018/19.
The Cabinet Member for Finance explained that the report set out the forecast outturn position for 2018/19 as at the end of Quarter 2 (30 September 2018). The report covered the General Fund Revenue Budget, Housing Revenue Account Budget and Capital Programmes, General Fund and HRA. An update on the national financial context, including announcements in the Budget Statement and the latest position with the Business Rates Pilot were also included.
Reference was made to the table at 2.2 of the report that summarised, by Directorate, the general fund budget position as at 30 September 2018 and provided details of theforecast outturn and forecast variances for 2018/19.
The forecast position on the general fund revenue budget for 31 March 2019 was a surplus of £1.269m which was largely due to the success of the Business Rates Pilot the Council had taken part in during 2018/19. The pilot was for this financial year which would mean that the level of income would not continue beyond 31 March 2019.
The cost of service level currently had a forecast overspend of £681k with a large proportion of the variances being “one off” and were not expected to continue into future financial years.
Further reference was made to the careful monitoring and forecasting of the business rates pilot during the year which had been undertaken by specialist financial advisors and technical officers from each of the participating authorities. Based on current projections the additional growth for South Kesteven for 2018/19 was forecast to be a net increase of £1.95m over budgeted levels. This forecast could change if there were significant impacts that affect the business rates base such as high street retail or business closures.
The Cabinet Member explained that the Growth Overview and Scrutiny Committee were being asked to consider the report and agree the recommendations.
The Chairman thanked the Cabinet Member for his report.
In response to the Chairman’s query about future reports, the Strategic Director for Resources confirmed that monthly monitoring would be undertaken from period 8 (November) and that Growth OSC would continue to receive a quarterly report.
Members sought clarification on the following areas:
· Reference was made to Appendix F – HRA Capital programme and whether it was usual for there to be so few variances and how budgets were monitored.
It was noted that at Q2, variances would not be expected. Variances driven by the progress of projects and works would probably appear later in the year.
· Clarification on the “one-off” costs of £710k arising from the Senior Management Restructure and the number of people affected.
It was noted that the last Senior Management Restructure had been undertaken a number of years ago. The £710k “one off” costs were as a result of the implementation of the new Senior Management Team and related to the termination ... view the full minutes text for item 42.
Close of meeting
The Chairman reminded the Committee that the Budget Report for 2019/20 would be presented to the Budget Meeting scheduled for Thursday 10 January 2019.
The meeting closed at 11.28am.