Venue: Civic Suite, Solihull
Contact: Paul Rogers
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor A Feeney, for who Councillor D Gibbins was substituting; Councillor J Ryan, Councillor A Mackiewicz (Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Climate Change, Planning and Housing) and Councillor D Howell (Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Communities and Leisure).
Declarations of Pecuniary or Conflicts of Interest
Councillor K Thomas declared a non-pecuniary interest that she was an employee of JLR (Logistics) regarding agenda item 6 ‘Solihull Connected Refresh: Draft Transport Strategy’.
Questions and Deputations
No questions or deputations were received.
To consider for approval the draft Minutes arising from the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board meeting held on 13th June 2022.
Councillor McLoughlin objected to the draft Minutes arising from the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board meeting held on 13th June 2022 being approved, on the basis that the detail arising from agenda item 6 ‘Cabinet Portfolio Holders Priorities for the 2022/23 Municipal Year’ was not sufficiently detailed in the draft Minutes, specifically the exchanges between Councillor McLoughlin and Councillor K Hawkins (Cabinet Portfolio Holder for Environment & Infrastructure) in respect of cycle lane infrastructure within the borough.
Councillor McLoughlin clarified that on page 14 of the draft Minutes, 3rd paragraph, he was referring specifically to a Brunel University study and Net Zero.
The Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board:
(i) To defer consideration and approval of the draft Minutes arising from the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board meeting held on 13th June 2022 to the next Scrutiny Board meeting scheduled for 17th November 2022.
To review arrangements on how the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and Section 106 Agreements (S106) are deployed through the planning system in Solihull.
The report before the Scrutiny Board provided a review of arrangements on how the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and Section 106 Agreements (S106) are deployed through the planning system in Solihull.
Infrastructure provided as part of new developments was generally secured through either S106 attached to the planning permission for the development itself, or via funds collected through CIL. The Group Manager (Policy & Engagement) informed Members that S106 arrangements provided site specific mitigation whereas CIL arrangements were more related to the accumulative effects of moderately sized developments based on floor space and chargeable development. The associated planning reform implications were yet to be fully understood.
The CIL and S106 arrangements were included within the current Local Plan Review, which was at an advanced stage of examination. Part of the evidence base for the Local Plan Review included the Infrastructure Delivery Plan Review, which highlighted infrastructure requirements.
Regulations set out that planning obligations, including S106 agreements, can only be sought when they have met a number of prescribed tests. The tests are then applied in relation to the development. There is a wide range of mitigation on development. Furthermore, the Council’s Supplementary Planning Document assists further by providing guidelines on S106 and CIL arrangements.
The Full Cabinet meeting of 14th July 2022 clarified clawback procedures regarding S106 and CIL. In respect of CIL specifically, the decree of Full Council, as advised by the Cabinet, is required to approve the Charging Schedule, which was done so in April 2016. The Cabinet Portfolio for Communities and Leisure retains responsibility for overseeing the neighbourhood CIL bidding process, which is approved via consultation with the Cabinet Portfolio Holder.
Regarding Strategic CIL arrangements, in the period since CIL was introduced in Solihull up to m31st March 2022, a total of £6,839,518 has accumulated in the Strategic CIL fund. At the Cabinet meeting held on 9th December 2021, Members noted ‘In relation to Strategic CIL funds collected, the Council is at a key point with its new Local Plan, which sets out its strategy for development in the borough to 2036. As part of the process, the Authority’s Infrastructure Delivery Plan (IDP) has been completed. It is envisaged that Strategic CIL fund will support the delivery of the IDP and will enable spending to be focussed on key infrastructure needs that will unlock growth’. Strategic CIL funds are in effect focussed on key infrastructure needs.
As of 31st March 20022, a total of £1,320,480 had been accumulated in the local/neighbourhood CIL fund, which included monies paid directly to Parish Councils. Non- parished areas i.e. those areas for which the Council is responsible for spending the local neighbourhood proportion of CIL, are subject to a bidding process and consideration by the Cabinet Member. In the first 3 years of allocations being distributed, 32 projects were funded to a total of £417,995.00.
Monitoring arrangements for CIL funding include an annual report submitted to Full Cabinet detailing monies received, funding allocated to Parish Councils and funding ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To update Scrutiny Board on the refresh of the Solihull Connected transport strategy and to provide the Board with the opportunity to scrutinise the proposed approach.
The Senior Transport Planner introduced the report. The report before the Scrutiny Board provided an update on the refresh of the Solihull Connected Transport Strategy and provided the Scrutiny Board with the opportunity to scrutinise the proposed approach.
Members were informed that the Solihull Connected Draft Transport Strategy would sit alongside the Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) West Midlands Local Transport Plan (LTP). Members attention was drawn to the vision and four objectives of the Solihull Connected Draft Strategy, for which their views and comments were invited:
Paragraph 3.5 in the report stated ‘Views are sought from the Scrutiny Board on the proposed vision and objectives of Solihull Connected as set out in paragraphs 3.4.1 and 3.4.2
Vision: Solihull will have a multi-modal transport system that accesses all parts of the borough, supports our economy, is safe to use and makes the borough healthier and fairer for communities, businesses, and visitors.
i. To make the transport network reach all parts of the borough
ii. To help the economy grow in a way that is equal and fair for everyone.
iii. To be safe and secure for all users.
iv. Transport will contribute to improving the quality of life in our borough.
Paragraph 3.11 of the report stated, ‘Views are sought from the Scrutiny Board on the proposed themes and challenges for Solihull Connected’.
Members were informed that following consideration of the Scrutiny Boards comments on the Solihull Connected Draft Transport Strategy made at the Scrutiny Board meeting of 13th September 2021, the following themes were proposed to be addressed within the Draft Strategy:
i. To take account of the progress since the first Solihull Connected transport strategy was adopted in 2016.
ii. To respond to the environmental and transport challenges facing the borough.
iii. To support the housing and economic plans for the borough.
iv. To provide clarity as a number of high-profile schemes take place in the borough.
Paragraph 3.16 of the report stated ‘Views are sought from the Scrutiny Board on the proposed policy areas’ (forming part of the Solihull Connected Draft Strategy) (abbreviated):
i. Working with TfWM and bus operators (to address needs of different groups e.g. elderly).
ii. Working with West Midlands Rail Executive and other parties.
iii. Improving transport and travel connections to towns, districts and local centres.
iv. Extending cycle network infrastructure across the borough.
v. Highway schemes addressing congestion hotspots/traffic impacts; relive constraints to economic growth/retention of economic assets.
vi. Access from all parts of the borough to UKC Hub by bus, rail, cycle or, in future, West Midlands Metro.
vii. Working with Communities and developers to make best use of S106 and CIL leading to early investment in the transport network.
viii. Managing capacity on the highway network during periods of construction works and make parallel improvements to sustainable travel modes.
ix. Reducing carbon from transport by promoting low carbon travel.
x. Review of parking supply and economic success, congestion levels and uptake of active travel modes. ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
To update Scrutiny Board on the development of the Economic Strategy and to provide the Board with the opportunity to give comments on the first draft.
The purpose of the report before the Scrutiny Board was to update Members on the development of the Economic Strategy and to provide the Scrutiny Board with the opportunity to give comments on the first draft.
The Interim Head of Economic Development introduced the report. Members were informed that the draft Economic Strategy had been submitted to the Scrutiny Board on two previous occasions. The report detailed the economic strategy for the borough as a whole. Officers had liaised with the private sector in the drafting of the draft strategy, as well as facilitating two stakeholder events, which drew out substantial themes for further consideration. The current draft Economic Strategy reflected the above consultation, as well as the comments provided previously by Members of the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board.
When speaking with private sector partners as part of the draft strategy engagement process, the Council was keen to promote the economic vision in the strategy that by 2032 Solihull would be the UK’s best-connected economy – for business, for people, forever’. Four headline / performance indicator areas would be monitored to track vision delivery. An Action Plan sat under the Economic Strategy.
Having received the report introduction from the Interim Head of Economic Development, Members of the Scrutiny Board raised several pertinent questions to the report, which in summary included the following matters:
Councillor Qais noted that the draft Economic Strategy demonstrated clarity when addressing the issues of community, people, place and business, which provided a strong economic strategy for any location. Councillor Qais noted that the supporting Action Plan linked actions to deliver the strategy objectives and that the strategy was a living document which provided opportunities for it to be revisited. Councillor Qais sought clarity as to how the Economic Strategy would be evaluated and monitored moving forward.
The Interim Head of Economic Development confirmed that a draft Action Plan was in place. The Action Plan could be amended as required and was formatted to reflect the Economic Strategy priorities, providing evidence for implementation progress of objectives, lead personnel and resources involved. A timetable for the first 3 years of the Economic Strategy was already in place.
Councillor Gibbin commended the drive and ambition detailed through the Economic Strategy, but questioned with regard to the NEC, Birmingham Airport and A45 corridor how potential tourists and business users would be attracted to the more rural areas, hotels and town centres located elsewhere in the borough.
Members were advised that good work had been delivered through the Visit Solihull campaign addressing business and leisure tourism directly. Further work was being taken forward to address this area.
The Assistant Director (Economy & Growth) further advised the Scrutiny Board that the current Tourism Forum included representatives from across the visitor economy and borough specifically aimed at growing tourism throughout Solihull. Examples being advertising located at the NEC during the Commonwealth Games that highlighted the leisure opportunities in the borough.
Councillor McLoughlin noted that due to the current economic climate with ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To review the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board Work Programme 2022/23.
Having reviewed the Work Programme 2022/23 report, the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board:
i. To agree to amend the Work Programme to consider the following reports at the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board scheduled for 17th November 2022:
a. Council Housing Asset Management Strategy report
b. Housing Allocations Scheme report
c. Housing Strategy report
ii. To agree to amend the Work Programme to consider the following reports at the Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board scheduled for 17th January 2023:
a. Review of the Budget Framework for Portfolio’s Pertinent to the Scrutiny Board report
b. Net Zero Action Plan report
c. Climate Change Supplementary Planning Document
The Economic Development and Managed Growth Scrutiny Board
meeting closed at 8:27 p.m.