Agenda and minutes
Venue: Room B12, Civic Centre, Home Gardens, Dartford, Kent, DA1 1DR
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Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were submitted on behalf of Councillors A Bardoe, J Burrell, P Cutler, S R Jarnell and D J Reynolds.
The Chairman welcomed Mr Paul Spooner, CEO of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation and Mr Chris Glover, Orchard Theatre Director from HQ Theatres. The presence of the Cabinet Members for Events, Leisure & Heritage and Transport and Infrastructure respectively, was noted and the attendance of the Council’s Head of Development Management and the Leisure & Communities Officer welcomed.
The Chairman proposed and the Committee agreed to a change in the published agenda order, that Item 9 – Orchard Theatre Annual Report 2015/16 be considered prior to Item 8 – Ebbsfleet Garden City development.
Declarations of Interest
To receive declarations of interest from Members including the terms(s) of the Grant of Dispensation (if any) by the Audit Board or Managing Director.
There were no declarations of interest.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 13 September 2016 be confirmed.
The Chairman will announce his decision as to whether there are any urgent items and their position on the agenda.
The Chairman announced that there were no urgent items for consideration.
To consider the response of Cabinet to the Committee’s referral report of 27 October 2016.
Members considered the Committee Co-ordinator’s referral report to Cabinet of 27 October 2016 [Tabled] which relayed the Committee’s concerns over the lack of clear and measurable outcomes for the Council’s capital investment of £1M in the construction of a new Cricket Pavilion in Hesketh Park, Dartford. The response from Cabinet was contained in Cabinet Min. No. 59 (Agenda p.19).
The Chairman expressed his disappointment with Cabinet’s response. He reminded Members that following their meeting on 13 September 2016 [Min. No. 8 refers] the Committee had made 3 (three) proposals to Cabinet for possible measurable outcomes to be applied to this major investment of taxpayer's monies.
He accepted that the proposal to gauge the contribution made by the new facilities available at the Pavilion towards a reduction in obesity levels in the Borough, would be difficult to determine. However, the proposals to record the number of residents using the Pavilion facilities in its 2nd full year of operation allied to the monitoring of Dartford Cricket Club (DCC) in providing a programme of community activity and health & well-being initiatives; had not been adequately addressed. The counter-proposal by Cabinet that all those facilities that had benefitted from Council funding submit an annual report to the Authority added little to existing arrangements. The Chairman retained his concerns over the lack of identifiable outcomes for the Council’s investment in the Cricket Pavilion in Hesketh Park and proposed that the Committee re-visit the topic as and when the proposed annual report(s) became available.
In subsequent discussion, Members agreed that Cabinet’s decision not to monitor DCC’s performance in providing a programme of community activity and health & well-being initiatives was a missed opportunity in terms of advising the Club over possible future revenue streams and capacity building measures. However, Members also noted that the Club (as tenant) of the Pavilion could not be held to account by the Council in terms of targets and objectives for the provision of specific community schemes.
To note the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 7 November 2016 to 31 March 2017.
The Chairman renewed his request to Members of all political Groups represented on the Committee to consider drawing-down items for scrutiny from the published Regulation 9 Notice.
He advised that he was happy to discuss possible topics with Members if they so wished, prior to submission to Member Services and the Managing Director for approval via the formal Draw-Down process. He reminded Members that topics could be drawn-down from the published Regulation 9 Notice prior to consideration by Cabinet or at any stage afterwards. Topics previously considered by Cabinet could also be considered for scrutiny by the Committee, in accordance with the terms of its Protocol. The Chairman further advised that, when published, he proposed to draw-down the Council’s next Corporate Plan and Objectives document.
1. That the contents of the Regulation 9 Notice for the period 7 November 2016 to 31 March 2017 be noted.
To note the contents of The Orchard Theatre Annual Report for 2015-16 as presented by the Theatre Director, Mr Chris Glover of HQ Theatres & Hospitality.
The Chairman renewed his welcome to Chris Glover, Orchard Theatre Director and thanked him for agreeing once again to present his annual management and performance report for the Orchard Theatre to Members of the Committee.
The Theatre Director referred Members to the introductory summary for the 2015/16 report (agenda p.31/32) which listed the key highlights for the year under review including:
· Increased attendance by 9% with average capacity remaining at 61% which was above the national average;
· The Orchard remained on the number one touring circuit bringing the biggest and best shows to Dartford prior to West End release;
· High profile music artistes had included Jools Holland, Lulu and UB40;
· The drama programme had included an all-star cast of An Inspector Calls which ran for 2 weeks prior to a UK tour and West End release with 40% of tickets allocated to schools to help strengthen existing ties with the Orchard Youth Theatre membership and the school’s drama curriculums;
· The musical Chicago had broken all Orchard box office records and played to 97% audiences;
· The Christmas panto Dick Whittington starring Shane Ritchie had received superb audience feedback resulting in recording breaking advance sales for Snow White in the forthcoming 2016/17 season. Dick Whittington had been complemented with a full seasonal programme in 2015/16, including Winter Wonderland, Die Fledermaus, That’ll Be The Day Christmas Show and the Magic of Christmas charity concert;
· Sell-out comedy appearances had included Al Murray as the Pub Landlord and Ken Dodd with the latter performing to a packed audience until well after midnight;
· Dance had included a record breaking Last Tango programme prior to West End release and Ballet performances had included Ballet Boyz, Zoo Nation and Inala prior to and post performances at Sadler’s Wells;
· The Orchard investment programme had been completed with the installation of an air cooling system for the first time in the auditorium and upper foyer prior to the warmer Summer weather arriving;
· The Creative Learning programme had continued to grow in strength with the Orchard Youth Theatre membership increasing and showcasing its work on the stage and The Orchard participating in the National Theatre Young Connections competition for the first time;
· The Dartford Community Choir continued to perform in the Theatre Foyer, prior to programmes commencing helping to deepen existing ties between the Theatre and the community;
· The Orchard had become one of the very few theatres nationally to be awarded the ‘Investors in People’ accreditation, a major coup for the Theatre management team.
The Chairman thanked Mr Glover for his presentation and congratulated the Theatre Director and his team on another successful year managing The Orchard Theatre on behalf of the Council.
In response to subsequent questions from individual Members, the Theatre Director confirmed the following specific points:
· Traditional musicals such as Oklahoma had attracted poor audiences [in comparison to Chicago] reflecting a common trend across the theatre industry as a whole;
· Drama had been well received e.g. To Kill a Mockingbird and An Inspector Calls;
· Comedy was ... view the full minutes text for item 19.
Draw-Down : Ebbsfleet Garden City - presentation by Mr Paul Spooner, CEO Ebbsfleet Development Corporation
Presentation followed by Q&A.
The Chairman renewed his welcome to Mr Paul Spooner, interim CEO of the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) and asked him to explain his role and that of the EDC in general terms, prior to making his detailed presentation to the Committee.
Members were advised that the Ebbsfleet Development Corporation (EDC) had been established by Government to take forward the Ebbsfleet Garden City project (the first of its kind in over 100 years) to produce new homes, jobs and leisure opportunities for both a new Garden City community and the existing Ebbsfleet community.
As EDC’s interim CEO, Mr Spooner was responsible for the oversight and delivery of the Garden City Project, including the management of the recently signed £30M Government capital investment programme. He now headed an expanded project team of 28 staff with a broad set of skills, with 9 staff dedicated to planning matters, including working closely with the Council’s own Development team to ensure compliance with DBC’s planning and development policies.
In addition to the Garden City itself, the investment programme included monies to re-invigorate the stalled site at Eastern Quarry, the provision of utility services for new developments (prior to construction commencing), new cycle and pedestrian walkways linking the new Garden City to the established Ebbsfleet community, and the development of a new Garden City Centre at Ebbsfleet International station.
EDC was also developing common infrastructure themes with London Resort Company Holdings (LRCH) who are promoting a new theme park including business and local employment opportunities for the Ebbsfleet area and the Swanscombe Peninsular as a whole. Proposed new housing developments would include elements of affordable and rented properties to meet the needs of the new Garden City and existing Ebbsfleet communities.
Members received a printed copy of an EDC presentation entitled “Where London meets the Garden of England”. The CEO highlighted the following key areas and points in his presentation which outlined all aspects of the development of the first Garden City in Britain for over 100 years:
· Scale – 15,000 homes, 7 neighbourhoods, 600,000m2 of employment space [equivalent to half the size of Canary Wharf];
· Ambition – New city centre, mass transit system and centre of excellence for medical education and learning, 30,000 new jobs;
· Sustainability – Green city with seven (7) new country parks and sustainable infrastructure;
· Opportunity – North Kent Enterprise Zone was a Government priority with commercial and industrial enterprises grown locally to improve jobs and leisure facilities allied to infrastructure improvement e.g. Bluewater, proposed theme park and reopened river front for public use;
· Delivery at Pace – Following the stall in progress experienced in 2015 and early 2016 the pace of delivery had picked up significantly with 5 (five) house builders now on site producing 600 starts in 2016 to date, a 6th housebuilder consent and 2 (two) further major residential schemes awaiting determination in the next 3 months bringing the housebuilder compliment up to 8 with the target of completing 5,100 homes by 2021 with up to 30% affordable housing ... view the full minutes text for item 20.
To review the current Work Plan for 2016-17 (attached).
1. That Members noted the current Work Plan for the Committee as set out in the Agenda document (p.47).