Issue - meetings
Town Centre Regeneration Update
a) That the progress made in delivering regeneration in town centres in Flintshire and the refocused approach being proposed for 2020 and beyond be supported; and
(b) That the Committee recommends to Cabinet the additional resources required for a Senior Officer post.
The Chief Officer (Planning, Environment & Economy) introduced the report which provided an update on the work undertaken since February 2019. The report also proposed an increase in the scale of action to facilitate the transition to more sustainable land uses in town centres.
The Service Manager – Enterprise and Regeneration explained that nationally, town centres were facing challenging economic circumstances due to changing behaviours by shoppers and the retail industry. The Council had always actively supported town centres with the Council, in the past, being able to regularly draw down capital funding for property and environmental improvements from Welsh Government (WG) and the Welsh Development Agency. A list of programmes and projects supported and delivered through the funding packages was summarised within the report.
The Service Manager – Enterprise and Regeneration drew Members attention to the more ambitious approach being taken by the Council to assist town councils, within the context of the strategic approach agreed by Cabinet in May 2019, as detailed within the report.
In response to a question from Councillor Ron Davies around the need for a review of traffic lights and bus lane in Shotton, the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Streetscene & Countryside agreed to provide Councillor Davies with information following the meeting on the proposals to improve the junction and traffic lights in Shotton as part of the installation of junction improvements along Shotton and Queensferry.
The Chairman asked if any progress had been made in developing the land where the Council offices used to be in Connah’s Quay and the Somerfield site. The Enterprise & Regeneration Manager commented that there had been active conversations with the Council on the future use of the site and whilst there was currently no clear steer, it was hoped to see a shop unit there.
Councillor Ted Palmer commented on the closure of large buildings in Holywell high street, since the health check study undertaken in 2008, such as banks, which did not lend themselves to retail buildings and asked if these buildings could be adapted to provide housing but keeping a small space for retail purposes. Councillor Dave Wisinger also commented on the number of empty retail units, on the outskirts of town centres, which remained empty for a long period of time and felt that the best use of them would be to transform them into housing, which would assist in increasing footfall in town centres. The Service Manager – Enterprise and Regeneration explained that following on from the previous health check study, town centres would be revisited and reviewed accordingly. The Chief Officer commented on changes to Planning Policy Wales which aimed to make town centres sustainable places to live, with consideration of public transport links.
Councillor Patrick Heesom commented on the Town Centre Policy which he felt had benefitted some areas of the County but not all. He said that Members needed to be mindful of the North Wales Economic Ambition Board which would dictate the future of town centres and said ... view the full minutes text for item 47