To review the Cabinet’s Forward Plan (reference 17/093), attached.
The Cabinet considered the Forward Plan (Reference 17/93). In respect of the Finance, Procurement and Legal portfolio, Councillor Mallory urged all Members to get involved in the ongoing work to develop a robust budget for 2018/19. In relation to the Public Health and Housing portfolio, Councillor Chatt was critical of misleading coverage in the local press about the disruption and dispersal programme for herring gulls. The establishment of this programme was down to the efforts of Councillor Jenkinson and the South Bay Traders, not the local press. He then reminded the meeting of building owners’ responsibilities to net and proof their buildings outside the nesting season to prevent kittiwakes nesting, and shop owners’ responsibilities to keep their curtilages clean of kittiwake guano. The Borough Council held wider street cleansing responsibilities. Councillor Jenkinson spoke in support of the herring gull disruption and dispersal programme which he expected to take several years to make an impact, and of the dangers posed by gulls snatching food from people. Councillor Plant added an item under his Strategic Planning and Transformation Portfolio: Review of Whitby Market. He was also pleased to report that Lynn Williams, Home Improvement Agency Manager and Sharon Carey of the Council’s Transformation Team had been shortlisted for the national Public Sector Paperless Awards for the most flexible digital system of the year. Councillor Plant and the rest of the Cabinet placed on record their thanks to the Transformation Team for all their work. Councillor Nock, Cabinet Member for Strategic Transport, Transport Services and ICT, commented on the Council’s response to the recent global cyber-attack. ICT Services worked over the weekend to ensure the Council’s defences were sound, adding security updates. Officers would continue to remain vigilant in case of further attacks. Asked to comment on a report in the Whitby Gazette about the length of time it had taken the Borough Council to repair Whitby Piers and ‘how the cost of repair is now greater than originally envisaged’, Councillor Cockerill challenged the accuracy of this statement. He acknowledged that it was many years since concerns had been first raised about the piers, but that the system laid down by national Government and its various departments did not allow the Borough Council to undertake the work as quickly as desired. He added that the project costs were presently being collated and when available would be independently validated. Only then would the cost of the work be finally known. Councillor Cockerill urged the media to contact the relevant Portfolio Holder to ascertain the facts before publishing incorrect information. In reply to a question on the performance of the Borough’s ports as outlined in a recent Individual Cabinet Member Decision and the progress of the Ports Development Group, Councillor Cockerill confirmed that port operations continued to hold their own and, indeed, make some progress. For both Whitby and Scarborough, the overall income from the landing of white and shellfish showed slight improvement, benefiting from the increased value of the product. Whitby had benefitted from visiting vessels landing high value prawns and scallops. The landing of scallops both by local and visiting vessels together with the recent diversification by a local vessel into the whelk market had contributed to Scarborough’s figures. The report also showed that since the dredger’s return earlier this year it had, up to the end of March, removed almost 12,000 tonnes of spoil. The days operating over the same period when compared to 2016 showed a slight decrease but this was totally due to an increase in the days lost to bad weather. Meanwhile the reinvestment in infrastructure and facilities continued. Work was expected to start shortly on the strengthening of part of North Wharf at Scarborough to allow current weigh restrictions on that area to be lifted. This work was being funded totally from the Harbour Reserves that had been built up over the years and prudentially managed, in much the same way that the dredger benefited from the sensible management of that fund. Other projects, largely of a risk management or cost saving nature had also been completed or were in progress. In respect of the Ports Development Group, this had not been as productive as the Portfolio Holder would have expected. He had looked to the PDG to come forward with suggestions as to how the new services and facilities in the port operations could be developed to generate additional income. Following discussion with the Leader and other colleagues, Councillor Cockerill now intended to propose the area of the Borough’s port operations as a potential topic for an Overview and Scrutiny Task Group to be raised at a meeting of members of Cabinet with the Chair and Vice Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board. Whitby ward councillor and Cabinet Member, Councillor Turner welcomed Councillor Cockerill’s clarification in relation to the Whitby Piers and that a staffed TIC had been retained in Whitby whilst enabling the redevelopment of the former TIC site.
RESOLVED that the Forward Plan be approved.