To consider the report of the Director (RB) (reference 19/061) attached
The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (RB) (Reference 19/061) in respect of the Scarborough Town Centre Strategy and Action Plan. Introducing the report, the Portfolio Holder for Transformation commended the work of the Overview and Scrutiny Task Group and the fruitful collaboration of Overview and Scrutiny and the Cabinet it evidenced as per the new Protocol on Executive/Overview and Scrutiny Relations. The Director, Mr Bradley reminded the meeting that the changing nature of the high street, technology and consumer behaviour were having a tangible and rapid impact on towns and cities in the UK and beyond, citing the recent disappearance of such household names as House of Fraser, Toys R Us, HMV, Oddbins and Patisserie Valerie. The report set out recommendations made by the Overview and Scrutiny Board based on the extensive work and consultation undertaken to support the development of a Town Centre Strategy for Scarborough, together with an ambitious action plan, in response to this dramatically changing landscape. The draft strategy was aligned to national review recommendations, taking in to account the findings of the Grimsey Review, the Timpson review, Department for Housing, Communities and Local Government and Local Government Association reports. The report identified three key strategic objectives namely: (i) be the best performing coastal town centre in England by 2025 and the primary economic hub for retail, leisure, learning and living within the Yorkshire Coast Area, (ii) increase residential living within the town centre by 25% by 2025, and (iii) work together with public and private property owners and agencies to ensure the built environment and infrastructure exceeded the expectations of customers and community by 2025. Activities would centre on six areas: (i) making the town a mixed use environment, (ii) providing an inviting public realm, (iii) developing a University Town, (iv) improving the night time economy, (iv) introducing modern town centre infrastructure, (v) building the identity, image and brand, and (vi) establishing a collaborative and supportive town centre community. Members were further advised that securing external funding would be key to the delivery of the strategy and action plan. The Future High Street Fund and Local Enterprise Partnership were two key funding streams. The Future High Street fund only allowed the Council to make one funding bid for one township because of the size of the Borough’s population. Moreover, an announcement was expected imminently about the Future High Street Heritage Fund. The Heritage Lottery Fund and Heritage England funding programmes could also open up funding opportunities for other towns within the Borough since similar pieces of work and engagement were planned for Whitby and Filey. Subject to Cabinet approval, officers would immediately commence with the action plan including submitting a first stage application for funding from the Future High Street Fund by the 22 March deadline. With the permission of the Chair, the Task Group Chair, Councillor Jeffels then addressed the meeting, commending the intensity of activity over the last three months which underpinned the report and would enable a strong application to the Future High Street Fund. He noted the positive feedback from stakeholders at the two consultation events held before Christmas, and how many saw this strategy as an update to the Kissing Sleeping Beauty Strategy of 2003. Councillor Jeffels referred to a recent LGA Tourism Conference he had attended which had promoted the importance of cultural-led regeneration which he felt the town of Scarborough could embrace and was reflected in the draft strategy. He noted too the clear wish for environmental improvements in the town centre such as street lighting and planters. Whilst agreeing with the importance of external funding outlined in the report, he also felt the Borough Council would send the right message by committing funding to the strategy and action plan in due course. In reply to a question by Councillor Randerson, Mr Bradley confirmed that this town centre strategy and the bid to the Future High Street Fund concerned Scarborough, and not other towns at this stage. The Chair and other Members of the Cabinet welcomed the report, commending the dynamism of the action plan and the strong backing for the strategy from the local community.
RESOLVED that the Cabinet:
1. Note the report and findings of the O&S Scarborough Town Centre Strategy ‘Task & Finish’ Group;
2. Note the innovative consultative work undertaken (Appendix 2a);
3. Adopt the proposed Scarborough Town Centre Strategy and incorporated Action Plan (Appendix 1);
4. Support the proposed bid to the Future High Streets Fund;
5. Thank those involved in the work; and
6. Note that a Town Centre monitoring report in six or so months (late 2019) may be considered by O&S.
To ensure that the main vision (aim) of the review work ‘to support development of the Scarborough Town Centre Strategy for promoting a sustainable, buoyant town centre’ has resulted in an dynamic Action Plan with visible ‘real world’ outcomes, supported by, and involving, partners and underpinned by funding potential.