Agenda item

Regeneration overview (verbal)




The Chief Officer (Planning, Environment & Economy) reminded the Committee that at the last meeting they discussed the change to the Terms of Reference by bringing in Enterprise and Regeneration which previously reported to Community and Enterprise.


The Enterprise and Regeneration Manager gave an overview of the Enterprise and Regeneration Service to familiarise the Committee with his aspect of work:-   


·         Service Functions

·         Business Development

·         Housing Regeneration

·         Employability Programmes

·         Social Value

·         Digital Connectivity

·         Regeneration

·         Economic Governance


            Councillor Heesom asked how Members could oversee and participate on the economic recovery process.  The Enterprise and Regeneration Manager advised that scrutiny of the economic recovery process was an important function of this Committee.  He said that he was open to suggestions from Members on how communication could be improved.  


Councillor Shotton commented on how much pressure the Communities Work Team must be under and asked if Welsh Government were giving support     as many jobs would be under threat.  He added that retraining was the key to gaining employment and asked if that work was still going on giving the example of how much had been done with the Care Sector.  The Enterprise and Regeneration agreed that it was a difficult time at the moment but this did not just fall on the Committees for Work Team it was a shared effort and numbers could not be predicted but an active dialog was kept to understand the current pressures and was fed back to Welsh Government.  Some programmes were still taking place via virtually learning but people could not be sent into work places for work experience.  


            The Enterprise and Regeneration Manager advised that Cllr Shotton’s  point about Digital Connectivity was correct in that some providers were investing particularly in the most built up areas but across North Wales it was very light as it was not naturally an attractive area to invest in. He emphasised the importance of the Growth deal programme to digital connectivity.


            Councillor Hutchinson reported that the former Factory Shop in Buckley, which was previously up for let was now for sale and questioned what could be done to the shop to attract companies as it was becoming an eyesore.  The Enterprise and Regeneration Manager said that he was aware that it was for sale and that the sale price might attract interest as the lettings price had not.  He advised that they were in touch with owner to give support and understand their longer term aims for the unit.


            Councillor Hardcastle raised concern about the lack of consultation about the positioning of poles by BT Openreach.  The Enterprise and Regeneration Manager responded by saying that the Utility Companies have considerable powers and rights when it comes to installing their infrastructure.  He advised they do talk to the Council, but the Council have very limited control over what they do and cannot insist that they consult.  He advised that feedback will be given to Openreach, however there was a need for high quality infrastructure fit for purpose for the future which does sometimes mean disruption.


            Councillor Owen Thomas was concerned that Town Centres were becoming just charity shops and cafes and there was a need to look at what comes in as they won’t survive.


The Enterprise and Regeneration Manager stated that the future of Town Centres have not changed significantly since the 1970’s therefore there was a need to support change.   With the current crisis the world was changing which will cause organisations to think how they do business and people may be inclined to work locally and that potentially brings opportunity to town centres.


Councillor Kevin Hughes added that there was a need to base what we need to do on evidence as we cannot compete with shopping centres e.g. Broughton and Cheshire Oaks and there has to be a mix of retail, goods and services.   He suggested looking at other towns and cities that have achieved real success like Altrincham and Rotherham.


The Enterprise and Regeneration Manager agreed that evidence base is really important and that there was a North Wales Project being undertaken to increase the range of evidence so that comparisons could be made.  He agreed that it was important that we learn from other areas.


The Chair thanked the officers and for the detailed overview on this important area of work which was now part of the remit of the Committee.





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