To consider a report by the Director for Digital and Resources, copy attached as item 8
The Committee had a report before it attached as item 8, a copy of which had been circulated to all Members, a copy of which is attached to a signed copy of these minutes. The report before Members provided the final six monthly report informing the Committee on the Councils’ progress against the commitments and objectives set out in Platforms for our Places.
The Chief Executive introduced the report to the Committee and provided an overview of progress made to the end of the Platforms for Places programme
A Member asked the following question: In terms of our town centres, the document provided said “the visual signals of progress are all around” because major developments are underway and we are building. It notes promoting the vitality and distinctiveness of our town centres. To what extent has Platforms delivered vitality to our various town centres? Members were told that there had been significant work in town centres across Adur and Worthing. The retail economy had been changing fast. The HMRC building would be occupied by the end of the year bringing 800-900 jobs to the town centre. Other things included sponsoring new activities in town centres, making improvements to the public realm; improving car parks, securing visitor attractions such as the Big Wheel; and in areas such as Lancing, working with local landlords and businesses to support new activities in vacant spaces.
A Member asked the following question: A future focus of our social economies is the development of a new housing strategy. Bearing in mind the range of issues we have that restrict capacity to provide affordable housing for people, not least the issue of available to space to build, can we have a sense of how this strategy will differ from, and build upon, the previous strategy to address this issue? Members were told that the issue was a difficult one and schemes were detailed for members such as housing related wellbeing and support, better homes - stronger communities and increasing the housing supply. Members were informed that the Councils had recently been shortlisted for an award for the ‘opening doors’ scheme
A Member asked the following question: Paragraph 4.6.2 of the December JSC report notes progressing efforts to manage our natural environment. The controversial removal of shrubbery from the south side of Beach House Park suggests a loss to the air quality and character of the park. In hindsight would public consultation have been valuable before making this decision and does it have implications for the strategic management of our parks going forward? Members were told that a consultation had been carried out with key stakeholders. There had been competing views as to the issue and the park and it was not possible to meet the expectations and desires of all consultees. The parks team were keen to establish a ‘friends of’ group for the park to enable wider engagement.
A Member asked the following question: What role has the public had in Platform for our Places and the evaluation of its success as a strategic approach? The Public was critical to Platforms for our Places which aimed to enable and facilitate people. Across the Platforms there had been consultation and involvement programmes rather than a consultation on the document as a whole.
A Member asked the following question: Beat The Streets - What were the objectives for success? Will we see an overview report and what behavioural changes did you see? Did it see an increase of bike to school take-up? Members were told that Beat the Street was a fun, free challenge that saw schools, businesses and community groups across Adur. Adur and Worthing competed to see who could walk, run or cycle the furthest in just six weeks. The initiative, led by Intelligent Health, was funded by West Sussex Public Health, TCV, CCG and Adur, Worthing and Arun Councils. The game phase of the project took place across Adur, Arun and Worthing last year for 6 weeks between 19th June - 31st July. The target was to get 13,000 people being more active through participating in the game through increasing their walking and cycling. The objectives were to:
· Increase the number of people reaching the recommended amount of physical activity
· Lift people out of inactivity
· Increase the number of people participating in active travel
· Increase in health and wellbeing among participants
The evaluation, carried out by Intelligent Health used self reporting data from participants through a pre-, post- game and six-month surveys with participants, data from beat boxes and qualitative data from case studies.
· There were 15,275 players, 60% in Adur and Worthing and 40% in Arun.
· The biggest group of participants was children under 11 years closely followed by adults in their 30s and 40s.
From the pre and post evaluations
· The data showed that 60% of inactive adults became active
· In Adur, the data showed that there was a 6% drop in car use and a 5% increase in cycling
The six-month data was still being collated.
The pre- and post- game reports have been shared with funding partners and the six-month report was expected in April 2020.
A member asked the following question: Temporary accommodation - we see a vicious circle in that there is no temporary accommodation with cooking facilities whilst major capital works or repairs need to take place on council tenant properties. How will this be focused on in 2020? Members were told that Since 2017, the Councils had reduced the number of temporary accommodation units without adequate cooking facilities, especially for households with children. Newly acquired properties for temporary accommodation had adequate cooking facilities. Due to increasing demand for temporary accommodation, particularly among single households who need to be housed locally, some accommodation without adequate cooking facilities are still in use. Currently, the Councils used 15 different properties for temporary accommodation accommodating 163 households. These were a mixture of shared units (55 households) and self-contained units (108 households): Of the ‘shared units’ only one of these properties (an HMO) does not have adequate cooking facilities; All the self-contained properties, except one, had cooking facilities (hob & oven) and bathroom. The Councils had acquired properties to develop as suitable self-contained accommodation and will continue to do so to ensure that it has sufficient stock of suitable temporary accommodation for both single person and family households.
A Member referenced the United Kingdom leaving the European Union and asked what work had been done or needed doing to make sure that the correct skills and employment were in place. Members were told that relation to construction and care industries it would depend on how many European’s chose to remain and how many chose to leave. There was most concern about the care sector due to current vacancies and general low pay. West Sussex County Council, however, was undertaking work to encourage careers in care.
A Member asked about data concerning young people and NEETS (not in education, employment or training) and was told that data could be provided on the subject.
Resolved: that the interview be noted