The Committee considered the following report:
“1.0 Purpose of Report/Summary of Main Issues
1.1 The purpose of this report is to seek approval from the Committee on the draft Terms of Reference for establishing an All-Party Working Group on the City Centre, within the context of the emerging wider city centre governance structures.
2.1 The Committee is asked to:
I. agree the draft Terms of Reference for the All-Party Working Group on the City Centre, as set out in Appendix 1, and membership of Party Leaders or their nominees; and
II. note the emerging wider city centre governance structures in the context of various independent priorities including the long-term regeneration and diversification of the city centre and vulnerability, cleanliness and safety issues.
3.0 Background and Context
3.1 The City Growth and Regeneration Committee at its meeting in June 2022 approved the establishment of an All-Party Working Group on the City Centre, with further details to be brought back on the Terms of Reference and membership. A further update was brought to the that Committee in August
2022 and the draft Terms of Reference were discussed at Party Group Leaders Consultative Forum on 11th August.
3.2 At the same time as this proposal coming forward for an All-Party Working Group on the City Centre, it is of relevance and to provide context to the emerging wider city centre governance to highlight the following:
· Current challenges facing the city centre focused on vulnerability, safety and cleanliness, were becoming increasingly prevalent. In response to this there has been various meetings between Council Elected Members and officers, statutory partners and various city centre stakeholders including BCTC, BIDs etc. It is recognised that it is difficult to totally separate these often-interdependent issues, however, to effectively address the significance and severity of these issues dedicated and focused governance groups are required.
· In June 2022, the People and Communities Committee adopted a motion in relation to Cleansing Task Force, put forward at the Standards and Business Committee and agreed to establish a Cleansing Task Force, made up of Elected Members from each Political Party and Council officers. The first meeting of the Task Force took place on 29th June.
3.3 Members will be aware the Council has been leading on a Future City Centre (FCC) Programme - a multi-faceted framework to take forward the long-term regeneration and diversification of the city centre across a number of pillars, as enclosed with the report to the CG&R Committee attached at Appendix 2. This six-pillar approach has also been considered by the Community Planning Partnership – City Development Board under the priority area of the Future City Centre. As reported through the People and Communities Committee, the City and Neighbourhood Services Department have also led on a Clean, Green, Inclusive and Safe (CGIS) City Centre Study. An emerging CGIS action plan is in draft, with city centre governance highlighted as a key immediate priority action.
All-Party Working Group on the City Centre
3.4 As discussed at the City Growth and Regeneration Committee meeting on 10th August and the Party Leaders’ Consultative Forum on 11th August, it is proposed that the Group be convened to provide a forum to allow, as appropriate, public and private city stakeholders, including representatives from business and community organisations, the development, tourism and cultural, housing and education sectors and BID’s, to engage with Members to address the short- and longer-term challenges facing the city centre.
3.5 The proposed overarching role of the All-Party Working Group on the City Centre is to identify and prioritise issues and opportunities to address specific needs of the city centre with the aim of regenerating and improving the vibrancy of the city centre, linked to the council’s growth aspirations and the Community Planning Partnership – City Development Board. The Working Group will not have a decision-making function, rather it will make recommendations and report to the City Growth and Regeneration, People and Communities and Strategic Policy and Resources Committees as appropriate.
3.6 Given the important role of the city centre as a hub for investment, culture, tourism, learning and employment, it is felt that an All-Party Working Group could help to ensure it can continue to perform these important roles for the benefit of all areas of the city to derive the benefits. Given the importance of continued public /private partnership working it could also serve as a useful forum to consider some of the matters raised via various fora such as the Renewed Ambition (public/private) Partnership; specific developer/BCC regeneration focused Reference Groups etc and seek input of Members as appropriate.
3.7 Members are asked to agree the draft Terms of Reference for the All-Party Working Group on the City Centre, a copy of which has been circulated, and to agree that membership will be via Party Leaders or their nominees.
Emerging wider City Centre Governance
3.8 In response to the emerging city centre issues and ongoing related work strands, as highlighted in Background and Context of this report, a review has been undertaken of existing mechanisms for engagement and improved governance to bring together the various city centre related facets and ensure synergy whilst avoiding duplication and silo approaches. An overview of governance proposals was discussed at the August meeting of the CG and R Committee.
3.9 Members will note that the emerging governance seeks to give focus to each of the city centre priority areas to ensure that the structures and processes are in place to address the immediate challenges whilst simultaneously ensuring the long-term strategic regeneration and development of the city centre. A separate report is on the Committee Agenda in relation to a key priority within the wider city centre governance, Complex Lives – Supporting Vulnerable Individuals.
Financial and Resource Implications
3.10 None directly associated with this report. A separate report is being brought to this Committee in relation to Complex Lives – Supporting Vulnerable Individuals.
Equality or Good Relations Implications/
Rural Needs Assessment
3.11 None associated with this report.”
After discussion, the Committee adopted the recommendations.