To consider the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance (copy enclosed).
The Committee considered the report of the Director of Strategy, Performance and Governance updating Members regarding the ongoing and new activity to deliver the Corporate Priority ‘Heling the Economy to Thrive’.
The report set out the four areas of achievement under this corporate priority and provided an update from Officers on work being undertaken under each area. This included:
· Launch of the District’s Investment Prospectus, Local Maldon District (LMD). This would provide the Council with a coordinated approach to supporting inward investment and maximising business growth.
· The Council had supported the formation of the Maldon District Tourism Group (T23) which would assist in the development of a new Tourism Framework. This Framework would provide clarity on the core tourism functions of the Council.
· How the Supporting Local Business Programme would build on the most successful parts of the former Sense of Place Business Network.
· How the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) presented significant opportunity for the Council to support the District’s economy and businesses. Together with the Rural Community Council of Essex the council would be proposing a partnership bid to the Magnox Socio-Economic fund to support and enhance the delivery.
· As part of the UKSPF’s year one Investment Plan the Maldon Market recovery commission would be exploring options to invest in a new and improved Maldon Town market.
In response to a question regarding an indoor market for Maldon, the Strategy Theme Lead: Prosperity advised that although an attractive idea there would be significant revenue costs, and this was not currently with the budget allocation Officers were working with.
A lengthy debate ensued and in response to comments and questions the Strategy Theme Lead: Prosperity provided the following information to Members:
· The current location of the Maldon market was the location considered most viable by consultants following a report undertaken last year. The Council was exploring options for a market however no funds were being committed at this time.
· £25,000 had been allocated into an investment plan for the shared prosperity fund but this would only be used if, following a soft market engagement exercise, viable business cases came forward. The Chairman requested that before any monies were spent on any feasibility study that this should come back to this Committee as her opinion was that any company wishing to run the market should be able to run their own feasibility study.
· The Council actively promoted the area for film presentation and were working with the newly establish Essex County Council film office to do this. In addition, the Council had a specific page on the visit Maldon District website regarding filming in the District.
· Member briefings had been arranged, starting the following week, covering three areas (as detailed in the recommendation set out in the report) and a reminder would be sent out to Members. It was confirmed that the session recordings and materials would be shared with Members and further time offered if requested.
Councillor A S Fluker proposed that the recommendations as set out in the report be agreed. The Chairman moved the recommendations, and these were duly agreed.
(i) That Members note further Member briefings will be offered regarding:
· Supporting local businesses and inward investment;
· Tourism and the visitor economy;
· UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF) funded activity.
(ii) that Members note the Council’s Maldon District Tourism Group (T23) has commenced;
(iii) That the delivery of the UKSPF year one Maldon Market recovery project and the partnership with Rural Community Council of Essex to deliver the REPF be endorsed.