Agenda item

2022-2024 Council Plan Six Month Update

To consider the report of the Leader of the Council seeking to update Members on the delivery of the activities as outlined in the Council Plan 2022-2024 to build a greener, fairer, better Gloucester.


110.1  Councillor Cook introduced the report and explained that it sought to provide an update on the delivery of the activities as outlined in the Council Plan 2022-24. He reminded Members that the Council plan included 45 actions split across the three priorities set out in 3.3. He advised that of the 45 actions, 35 were currently complete or expected to complete on time, 9 were delayed and 1 was not expected to be completed. He further outlined some of the notable achievements set out at 3.6 in the report.


110.2  The Chair referred to the narrative around the successful funding bids to Arts Council England and the increase in cultural organisations which had been awarded National Portfolio Organisation (NPO) status. He asked what the NPOs were in the city. Councillor Cook confirmed that these organisations included Gloucester Guildhall, Strike a Light and Gloucester Culture Trust.


110.3  In response to a further query from the Chair regarding the benefits of NPO status, Councillor Cook advised that NPOs were granted significant investment from the Arts Council.


110.4  Councillor Wilson noted that the action around supporting the recommendations of the Commission to Review Race Relations had been delayed and requested further information as to why, The Managing Director confirmed that the legacy organisation which emerged from the Race Commission’s work was newly formed and were still establishing their objectives. He advised that Officers had met with the organisation and they had confirmed that they no longer operated under the ‘GREAG’ name, however they were working to establish a business plan.


110.5  In response to concerns raised by Councillor Pullen regarding the re-branding of the organisation, the Managing Director noted that the Council needed to be guided by them as it was inappropriate for the authority to drive the agenda on such a sensitive issue. He further noted that the organisation was also being supported by the VCS alliance. Councillor Pullen suggested that the new Overview and Scrutiny Committee, following the local elections, may wish to invite the legacy organisation to a future meeting to provide an update on their vision going forward.


110.6  Councillor A. Chambers referred to the narrative in the report regarding the regeneration of Matson and Podsmead, noting that the action relating to Matson regeneration was delayed. He asked for an update on the current situation and whether the Council was putting any pressure on the provider to progress energy improvements. The Managing Director noted that Gloucester City Homes (GCH) was responsible for leading on the action, and that they had not been able to take forward their original proposal for regeneration. He understood that GCH were formulating plans to deliver improvements to the existing housing stock throughout Matson with a view of improving the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) ratings in homes. Councillor S. Chambers further confirmed that she had received assurances from one of the GCH directors that he would provide her with the timescale of the EPC work within the next few days.


110.7  In response to a further question from Councillor A. Chambers regarding the action to reduce the use of bed and breakfast accommodation for temporary accommodation and proposed steps to improve the situation, Councillor Cook advised that the Council had agreed to invest £5m to acquire more temporary accommodation to reduce pressures in this area. It was noted that pressures in temporary accommodation were a national issue.


110.8  Councillor Hilton referred to the action to develop Wessex House and queried whether the proposed future use for the site was for housing as per the City Plan. The Leader indicated that this was still the case.


110.9  In response to further comments from Councillor Hilton impressing the need for elected ward Members to be consulted on the proposals, Councillor S. Chambers suggested that Councillor Hilton contact her and the Head of Place with his views as she was keen to hear his ideas.


110.10          In response to concerns raised by Councillor A. Chambers regarding the actions pertaining to housing and homelessness in the Council Plan, the Leader of the Council stated that the Council had a balance of priorities which needed to be managed in an appropriate manner.


110.11          Councillor Pullen put forward the following recommendation which was agreed by the Committee.


          RESOLVED that the Overview & Scrutiny Committee RECOMMENDS that:


(1)  The legacy institution which emerged from the Race Relations Commission’s work be invited to attend a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee following the 2024 local elections, to provide an update on its current position and activities.


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