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Agenda item

Decision Taken Under Urgency Powers - Heritage Action Zone Funding

To note the decision taken under Urgency Powers.  

Subject To Call In::No - Item to Note.

Decision:

That the decision taken by the Chief Executive, in consultation with the Lead Members for Community, Economic Development/Promotion and Built Environment, as set out at Appendix 1 to the report, be NOTED.

Minutes:

10.1          The report of the Chief Executive, circulated at Pages No. 40-44, advised Members of a decision taken under the urgency powers set out in Part 3 of the Constitution as required by the Constitution. The Committee was asked to note the decision taken.

10.2          The Head of Development Services explained that in 2019 the Council had been successful in its bid for Housing Action Zone (HAZ) status for Tewkesbury Town focussing on revitalising the High Street. This was a four year programme which had been due to start in April 2020; however, due to the COVID-19 pandemic this had been put back to September 2020. The Council had worked with Historic England to make it aware of the Officer resource which had been diverted and the reason for the need to delay the HAZ work. However, at short notice, the Council had been asked to pull together an action plan to take the programme forward and that decision had been taken under urgency powers in consultation with the Lead Members for Community, Economic Development/Promotion and Built Environment.  Historic England had agreed the action plan which had focused on the public realm, shop front improvements, traditional skills and upper floor conversions and a Programme Manager had been employed.

10.3          In response to a query, the Head of Development Services undertook to circulate the action plan for information. The intention was for 23/24 shopfront improvements which would be applied for on a grant-based approach for repair rather than redecoration; 3/4 upper floor conversions which Officers would be keen to explore with Registered Social Landlords for affordable housing units; traditional skills such as carpentry; and to work with the owner and developers on how to make improvements to Healings Mill and remove barriers to development. In response, a Member questioned who would teach the traditional skills and how they would be funded. She also expressed great concern about the current situation with Healings Mill and the surrounding buildings which were falling further and further into disrepair and dilapidation. Planning permission for some of the buildings had lapsed without any action being taken and they were now dangerous as well as being an eyesore. She understood that the owner had received offers for some of the buildings but had wanted to sell it as a whole project - this would be very difficult as that would be incredibly expensive. The Head of Development Services explained that £10,000 had been allocated to the traditional skills element but she would have to respond following the meeting as to who would be providing the training. In terms of Healings Mill, this was a massive project and Officers were trying to work with agents to move it forward but this was a very slow process. Another Member suggested that footfall could be improved with the inclusion of a trail like the Cirencester hares with a launch at Tewkesbury Abbey to bring together heritage and shopping in Tewkesbury Town. The Head of Development Services welcomed any ideas Members may have and advised that everything would be considered.

10.4          Accordingly, it was

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