Agenda item

A Plan for Shotton

Report of Chief Officer (Streetscene and Transportation) - Cabinet Member for Economic Development.


To assist Members, the following documents are attached:-


·         Copy of the report - A Plan for Shotton

·         Copy of the Record of Decision

·         Copy of the Call In Notice



That having considered the decision, the Committee is satisfied with the explanations received and therefore the decision may now be implemented.


Representations from call in signatories


Councillor Richard Jones was invited to address the Committee first.  In recognising the challenges faced by all town centres and pressures on the Regeneration team, he said that investment of Council resources to support Shotton represented inequitable treatment of other towns across Flintshire.  He questioned the key principles of anti-social behaviour (ASB) and environmental issues underpinning the decision by sharing comparison of ASB statistics across the whole of Flintshire and photographic evidence around Shotton town centre showing a good level of cleanliness and few shop closures.  As such, he felt it was unclear why Shotton had been prioritised, particularly as it already benefitted from investment and good facilities in health provision, transport links, a range of banks and shops operating on the high street as well as plans for a green infrastructure project.  He made the point that resources and investment should support all towns across Flintshire or that a plan for a specific town should be identified through assessing relevant criteria.


Councillor Veronica Gay’s concerns were about the means of establishing Shotton as most in need of support when other towns were experiencing more anti-social behaviour issues and had fewer high street facilities, citing Saltney as one example.


Councillor Mike Peers said that the call in decision was not taken lightly and that there needed to be an assessment of need across Flintshire to fairly distribute resources.  In pointing out that this was an 8-year evolving Plan, he drew attention to the high level of officer resources and working groups and the lack of detail on funding arrangements in the report.  He said that the project should be used as a framework to develop a Plan for the whole of Flintshire with a shared vision to determine a hierarchy of need across all towns and divert resources appropriately.


Responses from the decision makers


As Leader of the Council, Councillor Ian Roberts said that the photographs reflected progress to date to address issues that were evident at the start of the project and he thanked the local Members for their role on that.  He commended initiatives in various communities across Flintshire to regenerate town centres and acknowledged that work would be replicated in other areas.  In response to the retention of banks on high streets, he said that such decisions were not under the control of the Council and he questioned the timing of the call in, given that progress had been reported to Cabinet at each stage.


The Chief Officer (Streetscene & Transportation) gave a presentation in response to the call in, which covered:


·         Background and Basis for a Plan in Shotton

·         Welsh Index of Multiple Deprivation

·         Average income levels by town (North Wales)

·         Aims of the Plan for Shotton

·         Impact of suspending/ceasing work on the Plan

·         Future and next steps


It was explained that the Shotton Master Plan had originated in 2020 in response to an increase in ASB and environmental complaints in the town, and it was clarified that no additional funding or resources had been released.  Further development into a Plan for Shotton was aimed at improving community resilience, pooling resources and linking to other independent projects to add value and ensure the safety and vibrancy of Shotton.  Criteria such as deprivation levels and average income levels demonstrated the need to prioritise Shotton.  There were a number of risks if work was stopped at this stage, including loss of momentum from stakeholder engagement and achievements to date, the impact on partner organisations and lost opportunities to link to other independent projects.  The Chief Officer explained that the project could form a blueprint for similar initiatives in other towns and that further engagement with communities could help to secure funding to support those changes and encourage community ownership.


As Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Councillor Derek Butler reminded Members that early successes from the initial Streetscene project to tackle significant issues in Shotton had evolved over time and that the approach was proving effective through its co-ordinated multi-agency response.


As Cabinet Member for Planning & Public Protection, Councillor Chris Bithell spoke about Master Plans developed for other towns and the serious issues publicised in Shotton at the time which warranted more urgent specific action.  Resources needed to be managed and prioritised effectively and the report noted that additional capacity created in the Regeneration team would support the work in Shotton and towns elsewhere.


As Cabinet Member for Streetscene, Councillor Glyn Banks thanked officers for the detailed presentation.  In referring to the unique location of Shotton, he said that the Plan was partly aspirational and was intended to be used as a basis for projects in other towns.


Questions from Committee Members


Councillor Joe Johnson praised the Council for working with local Members to improve facilities in other areas such as Holywell.


Speaking in support of the call in, Councillor Patrick Heesom questioned why the item had not been submitted to Overview & Scrutiny and the mechanism for prioritising Shotton.  He recommended Option 4 to refer the matter to full Council.


As one of the Local Members, Councillor David Evans recalled the serious issues in Shotton and their detrimental impact on the town centre at the start of the project.  He welcomed the improvements achieved to date involving a number of agencies, volunteer groups and Council teams.  In response to the points raised, he suggested that the timing of the photographs may have coincided with a recent clean-up by the Streetscene team and that comparison of ASB statistics should take into account the size and population of towns.


Speaking in support of the Cabinet decision, Councillor Paul Shotton proposed Option 1 that the Committee be satisfied with the explanation and allow the decision to be implemented.


Councillor George Hardcastle welcomed town centre regeneration but called for greater transparency to demonstrate that all towns were being given the same opportunity.


The Chief Executive said that whilst the blueprint was to develop a cohesive Plan focused on regeneration across towns, the project in Shotton was unique in tackling significant environmental and crime and disorder issues that were prominent in the town at that time.  This in turn would help inform regeneration activities ongoing in other areas, to further engage with communities in order to create sustainable outcomes.


The Chair invited the initiators of the call in to sum up.


Councillor Richard Jones thanked everyone for their contributions.  In responding to points raised, he said that the call in was in response to the recommendation in November for Cabinet to endorse further work.  Whilst supporting the Shotton Plan, his concerns were about the Council’s response which he felt did not demonstrate evidence to identify Shotton as a special case.  He acknowledged the homelessness problem, but disagreed that environmental and ASB statistics were also key factors in the town.  He added that the report should have been considered by Overview & Scrutiny to compare criteria across all town centres and ensure the appropriate allocation of resources and finances according to need.  On that basis, he proposed Option 4 which called for the decision to be put to all Members at full Council.


In confirming the reasons for the call in, Councillor Mike Peers pointed out that the Cabinet report did not reference information shared at this meeting including the statistical chart.  On the points raised, he referred to the wider benefits of facilities such as Marleyfield care home and the difference between the Shotton and Buckley Master Plans.  He reiterated his view that the Plan for Shotton was at the expense of other areas and that the blueprint informing work on other towns should also benefit communities.


The Chair invited the decision makers to sum up.


Councillor Ian Roberts reminded Members that there were opportunities to seek a discussion on the matter at an earlier stage.  In urging Members to support continued progress on the project, he commended the outcomes achieved to date by officers and partners, particularly in dealing with some sensitive issues.


Councillor David Evans seconded the proposal by Councillor Shotton, which then became the substantive Motion.


Councillor Heesom’s proposal was subsequently seconded by Councillor Peers.


The Head of Democratic Services gave a reminder of the voting procedure and advised that having been moved and seconded, the substantive Motion would need to be put to the vote before an alternative option could be considered.  He suggested that the vote be taken by roll call and the requisite number of Members indicated their support for a recorded vote.


On being put to the vote, the Motion for Option 1 was carried as follows:


For the proposal:

Councillors: Sean Bibby, David Evans, Cindy Hinds, Joe Johnson, Vicky Perfect and Paul Shotton



Councillors: Rosetta Dolphin, George Hardcastle, Patrick Heesom, Dennis Hutchinson and Owen Thomas


The Chair thanked everyone for their attendance and contributions.




That having considered the decision, the Committee is satisfied with the explanations received and therefore the decision may now be implemented.

Supporting documents: