Agenda and draft minutes

MCA - Housing and Infrastructure Board - Thursday, 4th March, 2021 1.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meetin

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Apologies

Minutes:

The Chair, Councillor Johnson welcomed everyone to the meeting.

 

Councillor Johnson introduced his colleague, Councillor Julie Grocutt to the Board. 

 

Apologies for absence were noted as above.

2.

Declarations of Interest by individual Members in relation to any item of business on the agenda

Minutes:

Councillor Johnson declared an interest in matters to be considered at agenda Item 6 Programme Approvals by virtue of being the Leader of the respective sponsoring authority for the ‘West Bar’ and ‘Porter Brook’ schemes. 

 

Councillor Grocutt declared an interest in matters to be considered at agenda Item 6 Programme Approvals by virtue of being an Elected Member of the respective sponsoring authority for the ‘West Bar’ and ‘Porter Brook’ schemes. 

 

Councillor Cheetham declared an interest in matters to be considered at agenda Item 6 Programme Approvals by virtue of being an Elected Member of the respective sponsoring authority for the ‘Barnsley Town Centre Public Realm – Peel Square’ scheme.  

 

Councillor Jones declared an interest in matters to be considered at agenda Item 6 Programme Approvals by virtue of being an Elected Member of the respective sponsoring authority for the ‘Doncaster Town Centre Quality Streets’ scheme. 

 

D Allen declared an interest in matters to be considered at agenda Item 6 Programme Approvals by virtue of being the Chief Executive of the respective sponsoring authority for the ‘Doncaster Town Centre Quality Streets’ scheme. 

 

Councillor Allen declared an interest in matters to be considered at agenda Item 6 Programme Approvals by virtue of being an Elected Member of the respective sponsoring authority for the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council ‘Small Sites’ scheme. 

 

T Hawley declared an interest in matters to be considered at agenda Item 6 Programme Approvals in relation to the Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council ‘Small Sites’ scheme, due to Homes England investing in the Affordable Housing Grant in the scheme. 

3.

Urgent items / Announcements

Minutes:

None.

4.

Public Questions on Key Decisions

Minutes:

None.

5.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 356 KB

Minutes:

It was agreed that the minutes of the previous meetings of the Housing Board and Infrastructure Board held on 7th January 2021 are an accurate record and may be signed by the representative of the Head of Paid Service.

 

C Blackburn provided an update on the actions arising from the Board meeting held on 7th January 2021, and were noted as follows:-

 

·         The Growth Area Economic Blueprints would be shared in due course with the MCA Thematic Boards. 

·         The Mayor had received a letter of reply from George Eustice MP, in relation to his questions on flooding, negating the need for the reminder letter.

·         It was confirmed that all existing schemes within the LGF programme were on schedule to deliver in 2021. 

 

The formatting of the Housing & Infrastructure Dashboard is being amended as requested and will be reported to the next meeting of the Board in June

6.

Programme Approvals pdf icon PDF 148 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

N.B. At this point in the meeting, the Co-Chair G Smith assumed the position of Chair for the meeting. 

 

C Howard introduced a report which requested the Board’s approval for six schemes with a total value of £9.794m Getting Building Fund (GBF) and Brownfield Housing Fund (BHF) and to give approval for delegated authority.

 

On 30th June 2020, the MCA had been awarded £33.6m GBF to invest in ‘shovel-ready’ projects that will provide stimulus to local economies.  The funds needed to be defrayed by 31st March 2022, which allowed an 18-month delivery window.

 

To date, £13.326m grant had been approved across eight projects, with a further £7.255m for consideration in two projects presented in this report.  Four remaining projects were still to complete development and come forward for an approval decision.

 

The Board noted that the MCA had received confirmation of £40.34m BHF award on 22nd December 2020 with the aim of creating more homes by bringing more brownfield land into development. 

 

The report requested approval of the first four BHF projects with a total value of £2.539m schemes. 

 

Peel Square (GBF)

 

The Appraisal Panel Summary Table attached at Appendix A to the report asked the Board to take a decision whether to support the proposal of a GBF grant of £1.755m requested by Barnsley Metropolitan Borough Council for renewal and diversification of the commercial and economic activity within Barnsley Town Centre.  The work includes the removal of stalls and clutter to open up views of the buildings and creating a flexible event space with opportunities for pop up stalls.

 

The project had a clear rationale and aligned to the SEP (Strategic Economic Plan) and RAP (Renewal Action Plan).  The risk around COVID both in the delivery of the capital works and the future use of the Town Square are considered.  The project was designed to create flexible town centre space which should help mitigate any longer-term impact of COVID. 

 

The project was considered able to deliver within the GBF timeframe, with planning in place and a contractor already procured.  Works were expected to be completed towards the end of 2021. 

 

The Benefit Cost Ratio (BCR) of the project was anticipated to be up to 1.94, which represents nearly £2 of benefit for every £1 of public money invested.  This was considered to represent acceptable value for money.

 

The project was recommended for approval with a condition of delivery being to agree to undertake a suitable evaluation on completion.

 

The Board considered and approved the project for award of a £1.755mgrant from the GBF.

 

Doncaster Town Centre – Quality Street (GBF)

 

The Appraisal Panel Summary Table attached at Appendix B to the report asked the Board to take a decision whether to support the proposal of a GBF grant of £5.5m requested by Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council for continued delivery of the Doncaster Quality Streets programme to support and enable new investment in the town’s urban employment and residential development zones. 

 

The scheme includes a mix of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Emerging South Yorkshire Digital Infrastructure Strategy pdf icon PDF 100 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

C Blackburn introduced a report to inform the Board of the key elements of the emerging South Yorkshire Digital Infrastructure Strategy.

 

The Board was reminded that the consultant Arcadis had been commissioned in June 2020 to support the MCA and partners to prepare the South Yorkshire Digital Infrastructure Strategy.

 

Initial findings from Phase 1 of the commission which involved obtaining the views and requirements of a range of public and private stakeholders was reported to the Board in October 2020.

 

The Board received a detailed presentation from M Harrop, Senior Strategic Opportunities Director at Arcadis which provided details of the vision and emerging strategic proposals for the Strategy.  A copy of the presentation was set out in Appendix A to the report. 

 

The views of the Board were invited on the emerging proposals for the Strategy.

 

The Board supported the proposed draft vision and the following five key goals/ objectives:

 

1.            Ensure South Yorkshire’s superfast broadband and 4G success is repeated for Gigabit broadband and 5G;

2.            Support the social and economic priorities set out in the Strategic Economic Plan;

3.            Form an inclusive platform that enables better outcomes for all sections of society;

4.            Be supported by the Governance and data-driven approach needed to maximise the digital potential of South Yorkshire; and

5.            Position South Yorkshire as a centre of applied digital innovation.

 

The Board asked that a timeframe be developed when the Board would receive further details on the final Strategy and detailed Action Plans. 

 

M Harrop replied that the aim of today’s meeting was to help inform the Policy Framework and that there were further detailed specific actions which sit behind the framework, which Arcadis would be working up with the MCA Executive Team and Steering Group. 

 

The Board noted that 96%+ of 30Mbps ‘Fibre to the Cabinet’ broadband was available in the region and asked if this could be increased to 100% coverage. 

 

M Harrop replied that the remaining 4% of broadband availability was in relation to coverage in rural areas.  Good progress was being made to extend this coverage across South Yorkshire through the Superfast South Yorkshire programme, and work was taking place to consider an option to deliver fixed wireless broadband in rural areas. 

 

The Board asked if Cyber Security had been considered as part of the Strategy. 

 

In response, M Harrop said that the Strategy did not specifically contain details on Cyber Security.  He suggested that further work would need to be undertaken around educating children and small businesses about how to protect their systems, networks, devices and data from cyber-attacks.

 

The Board requested that the Strategy includes details in relation to digital poverty, to examine how to address the current inequalities. 

 

In relation to the reliability of the network, the Board requested that the Strategy needed to be clear about technical broadband specifications.  They also asked that investment be prioritised in the SEP Growth Areas.

 

The Board commented that there was a need within the communications element of the Strategy to articulate  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 252 KB

Minutes:

C Blackburn presented the Board’s Forward Plan for Members’ information.

 

RESOLVED – That the Housing and Infrastructure Board noted the contents of the Board’s Forward Plan.

9.

Any Other Business

Minutes:

None.