Venue: Online via the Zoom app
There were no members of the public registered to speak.
Minutes of the previous meeting held on 30 November 2021 were noted as a true and accurate record.
Declarations of interest
Cllr N Hookway: Minutes 23 – 24; Personal Interest: Former Chair of the Save Exmouth Seafront group.
Cllr C Wright: Minutes 23 – 24; Personal Interest: Former tenant of the Queen’s Drive event space.
Cllr A Bailey: Minutes 23 – 24; Personal Interest: Member of Exmouth Town Council
Cllr B De Saram: Minutes 23 – 24; Personal Interest: Member of Exmouth Town Council
Cllr O Davey: Minutes 23 – 24; Personal Interest: Member of Exmouth Town Council
Cllr S Gazzard: Minutes 23 – 24; Personal Interest: Member of Exmouth Town Council
The Service Lead Place, Assets and Commercialisation presented his report, providing a general update on progress ready for the new season to commence on 1April 2022. The report included the following points:
· The temporary planning consent for the existing temporary uses at Queen’s Drive Space expires on 31 March 2022. On the recommendation of the Delivery Group and following a consultative meeting of Cabinet on 6 October 2021 and subsequent Senior Officer Decision, an application was submitted in January 2022 for permanent planning consent. This application will be determined in March 2022.
· The report outlined the investment works being commissioned to be undertaken during February/March 2022 utilising an otherwise underspend in the European Regional Development Fund Welcome Back Fund (ERDF WBF).
· A bike rack and new gates are also being explored to determine whether deliverability is possible within the timeframe required to utilise the ERDF WBF.
· The Event Space, Fitness Area and the Big Wheel (proposed for Beach Gardens) have been marketed and expressions of interest will be assessed using a scoring matrix. Once operators have been selected, the Portfolio Holder and the Delivery Group Chair will be informed. It has been made clear to interested parties for the Big Wheel that planning consent will be required.
· Marketing of the Trading Area and Bar has been delayed. It was recognised that this was frustrating for traders but due to lack of in-house resource, the work had had to be outsourced. The consultant would make contact and seek to agree a commercial rent with each trader, and bar operator from last year, by the end of February, and we would market one vacant/additional pitch at the same time. Should any previous operators not wish to at the new rental level, those pitches would be marketed in March.
Discussion and questions from Members included the following:
· It was clarified that the former car park is not included in the planning application for the Queen’s Drive Space as it is the subject of planning consent granted last year for a period of 2 or 3 years, therefore is not due for renewal at this stage.
· The cost for the investment works for this season is in the region of £20-30k. The budget for this is already in place following a change request related to the ERDF WBF, which has been approved.
· A Member asked if the new benches being procured as part of the investment works were future-proofed, to ensure best value for money. The Service Lead Place, Assets and Commercialisation remarked that timber benches were being replaced with recycled composite material type benches which by their nature would be expected to last much longer.
· In respect to the events space that had received expressions of interest, it was confirmed that the offers aligned with the vision of wanting something a little different, more variety, and sustainability.
· A Member asked if there was a contingency in place if it was not possible to procure the gates and bike racks in time to ... view the full minutes text for item 23.
Introduction to new Project Manager - Place & Prosperity (Exmouth)
c) Priorities over next 6-9 months resulting in a report to Exmouth Queen’s Drive Delivery Group on a suite of delivery options and then necessary recommendations through to Cabinet.
The Service Lead Place, Assets & Commercialisation was pleased to introduce and welcome Gerry Mills as the new Project Manager for Place & Prosperity (Exmouth). Introduction to Gerry and the Project Manager role included the following:
· Gerry’s background is in economic development and place-making, with a delivery focus, comprising quite a unique skill set.
· The Project Manager role is about the long-term use of the various sites across Exmouth, how they contribute towards place-making and economy more generally, and what they give back. It was stressed that the Project Manager role is not about buildings and development alone.
· The role is one of two posts; the more junior post has not been filled and the funding for that post will likely be used to bring in additional support, when needed.
· Priorities for the next 6-9 months include consultation and engagement to generate ideas, linking with other pieces of work across the council such as the Cultural Strategy, Tourism Strategy and work around economic development and growth, and pulling together business cases. This will result in a report to the Delivery Group on a suite of delivery options, and then necessary recommendations through to Cabinet.
The new Project Manager for Place and Prosperity (Exmouth) delivered a presentation detailing his background including previous roles and the programmes he has managed, before inviting questions.
Comment and questions included:
· Members welcomed Gerry, offered thanks for the introduction, and comment was made on his strong background and its relevance to the Project Manager role, and his excellent credentials.
· A Member asked how the new Project Manager had gone about changing perceptions of an area, and how he would go about changing perceptions of Exmouth. The Project Manager Place & Prosperity (Exmouth) responded that changing perceptions is challenging, and difficult to quantify. It is important to assess the baseline by working with traders and the community to identify the current position and why a masterplan is needed to move development forward, and then reassess views at a later point in time to compare and contrast and recognise changes of perception. He added that consultation is crucial to success, ensuring that people have a sense that their input is valued and built into the masterplan.
· Responding to a Member’s question about the Project Manager’s knowledge of people’s concerns about the Queen’s Drive development, and issues that had gone before, the Project Manager stated that he had familiarised himself with the Delivery Group’s previous public meetings. He observed that people were keen to see things moving forward and he would be driven by the Delivery Group on what the concept is and what the designs will look like.
· A Member commented that there are some negative connotations associated with a masterplan; there is a feeling that they do not always reflect what people want and often do not deliver results. The Project Manager responded that a masterplan sets out the longer term vision in order to avoid a piecemeal badly designed structure. Appropriate and proportionate consultation is important, with a ... view the full minutes text for item 24.