Agenda and minutes
- Attendance details
- Agenda frontsheet PDF 213 KB
- Agenda reports pack
- Supplement - i) Questions from members of the public; and ii) Shirehall Design Strategic Review July 23, additional information for the costings of the Shirehall PDF 249 KB
- Supplement - Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) Form - Shirehall PDF 300 KB
- Printed minutes PDF 252 KB
Venue: Herefordshire Council Offices, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE
Contact: Ben Baugh, Democratic Services Officer
Apologies for absence
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence had been received from Councillor Rob Williams.
To receive details of members nominated to attend the meeting in place of a member of the committee.
Councillor Allan Williams was present as the substitute for Councillor Rob Williams.
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of interest in respect of items on the agenda.
No declarations of interest were made.
To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 13 February 2023.
The minutes of the previous meeting were received. The Chairperson advised that a few minor textual matters of accuracy had been identified and would be addressed following the meeting.
That, subject to minor textual adjustments, the minutes of the meeting held on 13 February 2023 be confirmed as a correct record and be signed by the Chairperson.
To receive any written questions from members of the public.
A document containing questions received from members of the public and the responses given, plus a supplementary question and the response, is attached at Appendix 1 to the minutes.
Questions from members of the council
To receive any written questions from members of the council.
No questions had been received from councillors.
To undertake pre-decision scrutiny of the Cabinet’s proposed decision to select a preferred new location of the Hereford Library and Learning Centre.
The Chairperson advised that the purpose of this item was to undertake pre-decision scrutiny ahead of the Cabinet meeting on 20 July 2023 and drew attention to the council’s ‘Principles of decision making’.
The Cabinet Member Community Services and Assets opening comments included: officers were commended for the team effort on this matter; there was an opportunity to bring the Shirehall back into use; and there was the potential for the library and learning centre and for the museum and art gallery to become world-class facilities.
The key topics and lines of questioning are summarised below.
1. The consultation undertaken with the Herefordshire Cultural Partnership was discussed. The Vice-Chairperson expressed a concern about the potential impact of the creation of a performance space at the Shirehall on the business models of existing commercial operators. The Director of Strategy and Performance outlined the information provided to the Herefordshire Cultural Partnership and advised that stakeholders would be engaged further as part of the development of the full business case.
2. On the perceived benefits of the Shirehall location, the Cabinet Member Community Services and Assets commented that the Shirehall was an iconic building and could provide around twice the space. The Chairperson highlighted an inconsistency between the space figures referenced and those provided in the published report (674.3 square metres for Maylord Orchards and 861.98 square metres for the Shirehall). The Service Director Economy and Growth explained that the disparity related to the atrium space at Maylord Orchards.
3. In terms of the learning from the consultation with stakeholders, the Cabinet Member Community Services and Assets advised that the chairperson of the library user group had expressed a preference for the Shirehall location. The Director of Strategy and Performance said that positive comments had been made by other stakeholders about the re-use of the historic building.
4. The Chairperson considered it surprising that no background papers had been identified in the covering report given the apparent reliance on other information in the preparation of the papers.
5. Questioned on the intended plan for Maylord Orchards, the Cabinet Member Community Services and Assets commented on the ongoing use of a unit by the Department for Work and Pensions and on the demand for retail and commercial space. The Chairperson questioned the statement that ‘Our appointed agents inform us however, that we are performing very well against the national picture’ (paragraph 11, agenda page 32) given the number of units that were currently vacant. The Cabinet Member Community Services and Assets commented on expressions of interest received in recent months. The Cabinet Member Economy and Growth accepted that the council needed to do better in terms of managing the commercial space. The Service Director Economy and Growth commented that the retail sector had been more resilient than projections had indicated, and the strategic review had identified that the bringing the Shirehall back into use would generate an increase in footfall.
6. In response to a question, the Cabinet Member ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
Dates of future meetings
Committee meeting dates for the remainder of the municipal year were noted, as follows:
[*Note: The September 2023 meeting was rescheduled to Monday 23 October 2023 2.00 pm]