Agenda and draft minutes

Economic Development & Managed Growth Scrutiny Board - Thursday 14th September 2023 6.00 pm

Venue: Civic Suite, Solihull

Contact: Paul Rogers  Democratic Services


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Councillors: D Pinwell (Chairman), A Burrow (Vice Chairman), 

S Marwa MBE & JP, K Thomas, M McLoughlin, J Lamden, A Mackenzie

Councillors in Attendance:











Councillor A Mackiewicz: Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Planning (Virtual)



Perry Wardle: Assistant Director, Growth and Development

Austin Rodriguez: Head of Housing and Communities

Paul McGrath: Housing Strategy Officer for Climate Change and Fuel Poverty

Paul Rogers: Democratic Services


The Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board meeting commenced at 6:00 p.m.






Apologies for absence were received from Councillor B Donnelly, for whom Councillor J Lamden substituted.


Apologies for absence were received from Councillor E Fitter, for whom Councillor A Mackenzie substituted.


Apologies were received from Councillor J Ryan.



Declarations of Pecuniary or Conflicts of Interest

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No declarations were received.



Questions and Deputations

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No questions or deputations were received.



Minutes pdf icon PDF 524 KB

To consider for approval the draft Minutes arising from the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board meeting held on 19 July 2023.

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Councillor M Parker (Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change and Planning) submitted the following amendments: Paragraph 4 to be amended on page 11 from ‘anti-social housing reform….‘o ' the Social Housing B’ll'...then.’..'The Social Housing Bill was also proceedin’….'.


Councillor McLoughlin referenced Page 13, paragraph 3 which should read NCIS, and Page 14, paragraph 5 should be amended from ‘Councillor Mackiewicz stated’ to ‘Councillor McLoughlin stated….’



The Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board:




(i)  Subject to the above amendments, to agree the draft Minutes arising from the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board meeting held on 19th July 2023.




The purpose of this report is to update members of the Scrutiny Board about the work being done by the Council to increase the energy efficiency of the borough’s housing stock, implement domestic retrofit programmes and deliver green homes.


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The Head of Housing and Communities introduced the report.  Members were informed the report detailed the status of delivery for the domestic retrofit programme and current landscape.  The programme was at the beginning of the retrofit process and laying foundations for future delivery, as well as establishing further benchmarking data for the Councils housing stock.  The Council had commenced appointing contractors and engaging with energy companies.


Members were advised that there were some capacity issues in the private sector around supply and further work was being undertaken assessing the costs of the proposed retrofit measures.  There were also some issues around national policy in relation to the use of funding for retro fit programmes.  The programme was also aware of vulnerable households and the programmes links to and potential impact on public health and social care, as well as links to the charity and voluntary sector.


The Housing Strategy Officer confirmed for the Scrutiny Board that the Council would be receiving grant funding from central Government to support the domestic retrofit programme and was already working closely in partnership with SCH to deliver this on a cross-tenure basis.  There was the potential for targeting both private and Council properties simultaneously.  Feedback received from residents who had works completed in their property was positive to date.


Having received the report introduction, Members of the Scrutiny Board raised several questions pertinent to the report, which in summary addressed the following matters:


Councillor Mackenzie sought clarification as to whether tenants in social housing could refuse to have the domestic retrofit works undertaken in their property.  The Housing Strategy Officer confirmed that some tenants did not wish to experience the disruption the work may cause.  The first tranche of retrofit works in Alston Road took place from March to August 2023, and it had been found that more residents signed up to the retrofit programme as they saw the aesthetic and energy efficiency improvements delivered through the upgraded properties.


Councillor Thomas questioned what needed to be done to facilitate full delivery of the programme and whether there was a skills gap which could be addressed via colleges and provision of apprenticeships. The Head of Housing and Communities advised that there was a government agenda addressing provision of apprenticeships and skills training.  There was a growing skills training sector in the West Midlands region through funding and colleges. However, time was required for young people to access and complete the skills training courses available, which would take a few years to realise the infrastructure improvements such skills training would deliver.  It was recognised that there was a need to recruit young people via colleges regionally, which could then lead to accreditation for trades leading to a transfer across to retro fitting trades.


Councillor Pinwell questioned whether the available training opportunities via current Government backed training opportunities provided sufficient capacity to meet the skills demand.  Members were advised that the position was moving quickly, with free training available for various levels of retrofit.  Members were advised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.



The purpose of the report is to provide Members of the Scrutiny Board the opportunity to review the Scrutiny Board’s annual work programme for the 2023/24 municipal year and to agree any amendments as required.

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Having considered the report, the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board:




i.  To agree to holding an additional Scrutiny Board meeting on 29/2/24;


ii.  To reschedule the Housing Allocations & Annual Lettings Plan and Tenancy Policy reports originally scheduled for 15/11/23 to the Scrutiny Board meeting scheduled for 29/2/24; and,


iii.  To reschedule the Retaining Wealth in North Solihull report from 15/1/24 to 29/2/24.





The Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board meeting closed at 7:35 p.m.