Agenda item

Scrutiny of Regeneration Related Cabinet Reports

To consider the following Regeneration related report scheduled for Cabinet consideration on 27 October 2021:


·       BCP Commissioning Plan for Regeneration and Development and Urban Regeneration Company Business Plan


The O&S Board is asked to scrutinise and comment on the report and if required make recommendations or observations as appropriate.


Cabinet member invited to attend for this item: Councillor Phil Broadhead, Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning.


The Cabinet report for this item is included with the agenda for consideration by the Overview and Scrutiny Board.


The Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, Economy and Strategic Planning presented a report, a copy of which had been circulated to each Member and a copy of which appears as Appendix 'C' to these Minutes in the Minute Book.


The Portfolio Holder, with support from Officers, responded to Board Members’ comments and requests for clarification, details included:


  • There was still an ambition to redevelop the former Winterbourne hotel, however it had now become part of a larger plan for the area.
  • There were a number of sites identified for delivery and the Council was actively looking for these sites to be taken forward sooner rather than later. Other sites required further consideration and it was important for the Council and the URC to establish the best method of delivery for each site.
  • The URC needed to take a holistic view on sites, including those not necessarily in their remit, including Winter Gardens and Cotlands Road, which were owned by BDC, although there was an opportunity for both the URC and BDC to work together to ensure projects are connected.
  • The extra investment in regeneration was not new and the funding request had already been approved by Cabinet in September and the report before Board Members included the details as part of the business plan and would allow the URC to be fully established.
  • It was acknowledged that the establishment of the URC may be a cost burden initially, but it would be highly beneficial and it was already growing quickly, which would be rewarding in terms of what it could deliver and was considered to be a very innovative project.
  • Other similar organisations were having successes with this type of arrangement and the business model evolved over time and stops being a cost burden.
  • The URC was commissioned by the Council to feed back options relating to regeneration/development and its establishment would lead to a level of councillor engagement not experienced in the past.
  • Culture would be placed at the heart of what projects undertaken by the URC and its main governance board would be populated with experienced non-exec directors, plus there would be an advisory board which would provide evidence to main board.
  • It was felt that the URC was the best vehicle for the Council to promote regeneration across the conurbation and would fit with the council’s objectives. A a cross-cutting approach was required which was why the council had appointed a director of delivery to look across all departments and act as one point of contact.
  • The URC would have its own marketing team to promote sites and national partner as part of a larger branding exercise.
  • There was a need to ensure that ambition and drive was active, but robust processes needed to be in place to ensure correct governance and by having this commissioning plan in place, the URC would be able undertake its work and the Board will have oversight. There would be three members on the Executive Board from the local authority and it was expected that this would be the Chief Executive, Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council respectively.


A Member moved the following motion, which was duly seconded:


“To help give confidence to potential developers, investors and residents that the Council has a long-term commitment to regeneration, we request that the URC’s board has cross-party councillor representation.”


Before being put to the vote, the Chairman expressed some concerns in relation to the Chief Executive being a member of the URC’s Executive Board and invited further comments from Board Members


The Portfolio Holder, with support from Officers, responded to Board Members’ comments, details included:


  • The URC was a wholly owned company by the Council, unlike BDC, which was a 50/50 joint venture and, as such, had different governance arrangements.
  • The URC was established to provide outside expertise, which the Council would then review and make decisions on. The URC did need the flexibility to be able to operate freely, although checks and balances had been incorporated into the business plan.
  • The Overview and Scrutiny Board would be able to call the URC to account, just as it would with any other department or wholly owned subsidiary of the council.
  • Before bringing forward the proposal for a URC, many different options for delivery of regeneration were considered and the URC had appeared to be the best vehicle for this.


On being put to the vote the motion (above) was LOST




For – 6

Against – 6

Abstentions – 1


The Chairman used his casting vote.



Further discussion ensued and the Portfolio Holder, with support from officers responded to additional comments from Board Members, details included:


  • The URC was in its infancy but had already achieved a considerable amount in a short space of time and this was a long-term project. The Administration had invested significant time and had injected a large sum of money into realising its regeneration ambitions, and a large part of that was the establishment of the URC.
  • Decision-making relating to sites coming from the URC or indeed funding requests would still need to be ratified by Cabinet and/or Council through the usual processes.
  • The establishment of the URC allowed the council to utilise the resources it already had available and would save large sums of money by not relying on consultants. Additionally, the URC would allow the Council to deliver projects that have been desired over the course of many years, dating back to those from the preceding authorities.
  • There was the opportunity to ensure that consultations were more effective and would align to the needs of the council and its residents, moreso than one undertaken by a different delivery vehicle or an external consultancy firm.
  • At this point, there was no ambition to transfer assets to the URC, although if deemed appropriate longer term, this should not necessarily be prohibited.


The Chairman thanked the Portfolio Holder and Officers for the report and for their responses to comments and questions.



Supporting documents: