Agenda item - Member Involvement
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- Meeting of Tourism, Equalities, Communities & Culture Committee, Thursday, 7th May, 2020 4.00pm (Item 67.)
To consider the following matters raised by Members:
(a) Written Questions: To consider any written questions;
(i) Waterhall Golf Club/Course
(ii) Holiday Lets
(iii) Tourism Business Grants
(iv) Tourism Business Resilience
(b) Notices of Motion: to consider any Notices of Motion referred from Full Council or submitted directly to the Committee.
(i) Compulsory Nature Checklist – Councillor Robert Nemeth
(ii) Strategic Views – Councillor Robert Nemeth
(i) Madeira Terraces
67.1 Councillor Nemeth put the following question:
“With hindsight, (i) what alternative actions should have been taken to prevent the collapse of Waterhall Golf Club after nearly 100 years in operation and (ii) to ensure that Waterhall Golf Course did not close without a tenant in place?
67.2 The Chair gave the following response:
(i) “There were not alternative actions that should have been taken. The membership of the Golf Club had declined significantly over the years and unfortunately Waterhall Golf Course was not financially viable to operate as a golf course.
(ii) The lack of financial viability for Waterhall as a golf course meant it was unrealistic for the course to keep operating at the end of the Golf Management Contract.
There is a strong desire from the TECC Committee for a rewilding option to be established at Waterhall Golf Course. Due to the need for grant applications to be developed for this use, alongside ecological surveys to assess the feasibility of the various grants it is unrealistic to expect a tenant to be in place immediately the golf course closed. Preferred leaseholder status was approved by Policy & Resources committee to allow further dialogue and negotiation.”
67.3 Councillor Nemeth put forward the following supplementary question:
“Can assurance be given that land won’t be (check audio)
67.4 The Assistant Director Culture, Tourism & Sport gave assurances that there was no intention to let the club house out separately and that BHCC were currently in negotiations with a view to bringing a report back to TECC Committee in June.
(ii) Holiday Lets
67.5 Councillor Nemeth put the following question:
“How many standard residential units – flats, houses or otherwise – have been registered to pay business rates rather than Council Tax (i) in total and (ii) annually since 2015?”
67.6 The Chair gave the following response:
“In answer to the first part of your question, the number of standard residential units that have registered to pay business rates rather council tax in 2020/21 is 290. At this time of great difficulty for many, the rates team have prioritised paying out business rates grants to the remaining 1300 eligible organisations in the city. For this reason, they will respond directly to you Councillor Nemeth on the second part of this question regarding previous annual numbers, because this requires some research into five years of records.”
67.7 When invited to put a supplementary question, Councillor Nemeth expressed concern regarding efforts being undertaken by some to exploit a loophole to evade Council Tax and enquired if there was discretion to stop this.
67.8 The Chair noted that the rates team were currently busy with the processing of grants for 1300 people.
(iii) Tourism Business Grants
67.9 Councillor Nemeth gave the following question:
“Why is Brighton & Hove behind other local authorities when it comes to providing local Tourism Businesses with corona virus grants from Central Government and what urgent actions are being carried out to rectify the situation?”
67.10 The Chair gave the following response:
“Council officers have been working seven days each week to process and release grants to thousands of businesses across the city. This is being completed within the guidance issued by government and according to the Council’s financial procedures. The Council has a responsibility to ensure that public funds are granted to businesses which were actively trading and occupying premises in March 2020. There are over 30 officers working to distribute grants to eligible businesses, and the final group of difficult-to-reach small businesses are being contacted - in many cases for the second or third time - by the end of next week. Additional resources have been deployed to enable this.”
67.11 When invited to provide a supplementary Councillor Nemeth enquired of the reason for being behind.
67.12 The Chair stated that it was difficult to reach smaller businesses.
67.13 The Assistant director Culture, Tourism & Sport agreed noted the large number of start-up companies in Brighton and Hove and stated that given the level of turnover in premises leasing compared to other areas such as Chichester was an unfair comparison. The Committee were reassured that a large number of personnel were working on this.
(iv) Tourism Business Resilience
67.14 Councillor Nemeth gave the following question:
“What studies, if any, have been carried out to analyse the resilience of Tourism Businesses in Brighton and Hove in light of the Corona Virus crisis and what follow-up actions have resulted?”
67.15 The Chair gave the following response:
“The All Party Parliamentary Group for Hospitality and Tourism has gathered evidence as part of an urgent inquiry into the measures that businesses in this vital part of the UK’s economy will need in order to successfully reopen, recover, and thrive in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. The key focus of the inquiry is to assess what is needed to get businesses in these sectors back on their feet at the appropriate time, providing forward-looking recommendations to guide Government as they move to planning recovery. The consultation asked businesses to provide details relating to their resilience in handling the current crisis, and what actions they would like to see from Government. It also consulted on the internal and operational challenges that businesses will face when looking to reopen. Details of this consultation was shared with over 1000 tourism stakeholders / businesses in Brighton & Hove and we anticipate using the published results, anticipated later this month, to inform the Council’s Recovery Plan.”
(B) NOTICES OF MOTION
(i) Compulsory Nature Checklist
67.16 Councillor Nemeth moved the following Conservative Notice of Motion:
“This Committee was very generous in the past in supporting Conservative proposals on swift boxes and bee-bricks and Full Council was similarly generous in agreeing to lock at other conservation features during the City Plan part 2 process. As everyone know Swift boxes and bee brick are now compulsory in new developments including extensions, the purpose of making this compulsory was in the congregated negotiations during the planning application there was not time to individually negotiate every single item like this. The idea for the two features was that nobody disagreed with them. As Conservatives we believe there are 4 or 5 other features that could be easily incorporated in to the cost.
Therefore, this committee resolves:
1) To update SPD11 to refer to a range of other low-cost nature conservation features that can be secured through new development.
67.17 The Chair provided the following response to the Notice of Motion:
“Thank you for your Notice of Motion. I can confirm that an update to the Nature Conservation SPD is a piece of work already identified by the Sustainability and Planning Policy Teams and in the pipeline for this year. The Notice of Motion can be supported as it is resourced and will help to deliver the priorities of the City Council.”
- Written Questions, item 67. PDF 100 KB
- 7.05.2020 Compulsory Nature Checklist NoM, item 67. PDF 277 KB
- 7.05.2020 Strategic Views NoM, item 67. PDF 277 KB