Agenda and minutes

Stronger City Economy Scrutiny Panel - Thursday, 18th March, 2021 6.00 pm

Venue: Via Microsoft Teams

Contact: Martin Stevens  Email: martin.stevens@wolverhampton.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

[To receive any apologies for absence]. 

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Craig Collingswood and Cllr Rupinderjit Kaur.   

2.

Declarations of interest

[To receive any declarations of interest]. 

Minutes:

Cllr Phil Bateman declared a non-pecuniary interest as a Member of the Canal and River Trust Advisory Board. 

3.

Minutes of previous meeting pdf icon PDF 477 KB

[To approve the minutes of the previous meeting of the Stronger City Economy Scrutiny Panel as a correct record].    

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on Thursday, 21 January 2021 were approved as a correct record.

4.

Matters arising

[To consider any matters arising from the minutes of the previous meeting]. 

Minutes:

A Member of the Panel referred to a section in the minutes of the previous meeting which stated that there was nearly £31 million in grant money to be distributed to businesses and asked if this had now been allocated.  The Scrutiny Officer confirmed that grant funding would be covered under a section in the presentation later in the agenda.   

5.

Portfolio Holder for City Economy - Statement and Question Time

The Portfolio Holder for City Economy will give a statement and answer questions from Panel Members on his Portfolio. 

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder commented that he was delighted to be able to attend the Scrutiny Panel and to answer questions on his Portfolio of City Economy. He remarked that the team of Officers had performed exceptionally well in unprecedented times.  He was immensely proud of the work that had taken place in regenerating the City and the economy.  He asked the Director of Regeneration to present some slides by way of information to the Panel.

 

The Director for Regeneration stated that the Wolverhampton Interchange Project was now a multi award winning project.  Phase 2 works for the Railway station were due for completion shortly.  Adjacent to the railway station was the i9 building which was almost fully built.  Practical completion would take place later in the Summer.  They were in pre-let discussions with two organisations and were confident that the building would be fully pre-let ahead of its opening in the Summer.  There had been a recent press announcement, stating that the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) would have a second headquarters in Wolverhampton.  Officers were meeting with representatives from the MHCLG the following week, to discuss their requirements further.

 

The Director for Regeneration commented that whilst the country had been in a lockdown period, the investment enquiries into the City had still progressed.  The Council had been informed recently of the positive news that they had secured £25 million in support of Wolverhampton’s Investment Plan for projects across Bilston, Wednesfield and the City Centre.  A Town’s Fund Board meeting was scheduled for the following day, which was the first time they would have met since the announcement.  The next steps were for the Board to consider whether they agreed to accept the £25 million and secondly how they would prioritise the eleven projects put forward as part of the original £48 million bid.

 

The Director for Regeneration stated that the National Brownfield Institute had been awarded £14.8 million through the “Getting Building Fund.” The ground breaking ceremony was imminent.  Planning permission had been secured and the University had appointed a contractor.  The Council had secured £15.7 million to support the transformation of spaces within the core City centre.  There were four key areas the Council were looking to develop one of which was the public realm around the Civic Halls and they were looking to develop the public realm around Victoria Street down to the West Side area.   There would be further enhancements around the City Centre environment. He referred to the Levelling Up Fund which had been recently announced and guidance provided.  Up to £20 million was available per Parliamentary constituency.  The Local Authority was responsible for bidding for the funds, but it did require the sign off from the local Member of Parliament.

 

The Director for Regeneration spoke of the need to create jobs.  The i54 / Western Extension was continuing.  He commented that the project would be completed in the Summer of 2021.  Marketing for the project was already taking place.  They had  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.