Agenda and minutes
- Attendance details
- Agenda frontsheet PDF 116 KB
- Agenda reports pack
- Supplement: agenda item 7 - Pre-decision scrutiny of the forthcoming Cabinet decision on 'Review of the Full Business Case for the Shirehall as a location for the future of Hereford City Library' PDF 19 MB
- Printed minutes PDF 258 KB
Venue: Conference Room 1, Herefordshire Council Offices, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE
Contact: Ben Baugh, Democratic Services Officer
Apologies for absence
To receive apologies for absence.
There were no apologies for absence. It was noted that Councillor Roger Phillips had recently replaced Councillor Rob Williams as a member of the committee.
To receive details of councillors nominated to attend the meeting in place of a member of the committee.
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 19 July 2023.
The minutes of the previous meeting were received.
That the minutes of the meeting held on 19 July 2023 be confirmed as a correct record and be signed by the Chairperson.
Questions from members of the public
To receive any written questions from members of the public.
No questions had been received from members of the public.
Questions from members of the council
To receive any written questions from members of the council.
No questions had been received from councillors.
To scrutinise both the full business case for Shirehall as a location for the Hereford Library and Learning Centre (HLLC) and the full business case for the HLLC at Maylord Orchards.
The executive report on 'Review of the Full Business Case for the Shirehall as a location for the future of Hereford City Library', published on 18 October 2023 and due to be considered by Cabinet on 26 October 2023, is appended to this report.
The Chairperson advised that the purpose of this item was to undertake pre-decision scrutiny of the full business case for Shirehall as a location for the Hereford Library and Learning Centre (HLLC) and the full business case for the HLLC at Maylord Orchards.
The Cabinet Member Community Services and Assets made opening comments about the potential of Shirehall as a location, including: meeting the strategic objectives of the Town Investment Plan; bringing a heritage asset back into use; achieving a higher Benefit Cost Ratio, as independently assessed by Rose Regeneration; providing opportunities for other facilities and services given the larger footprint; utilising more of the Stronger Towns Fund on fit out and on the visitor experience; generating income, through a dedicated events space and the hire of rooms, to offset operational costs; and reducing additional operating costs given the service charges that would be incurred at Maylord Orchards.
The key topics explored by the committee and principal lines of questioning are summarised below.
1. In response to a question from a committee member about previous assessments indicating a decline in retail in city centres, the Cabinet Member Community Services and Assets commented on current unit occupancy at Maylord Orchards.
2. A committee member said that Maylord Orchards provided options for different uses and higher income potential, whereas the options for Shirehall were limited given its historic context.
3. Referring to the ‘Short-list of options’ in the business case for Shirehall (committee agenda page 62 / Cabinet agenda page 82) which showed ‘Do nothing’ was the ‘Base case’ and ‘Develop Library and Learning Centre in the Shirehall building’ was the other option, the Chairperson questioned why the base case was not to continue with the project at Maylord Orchards given that this was fully designed and funded, and had planning permission. The committee was advised that the document provided an independent look at the Shirehall location.
4. The Vice-Chairperson questioned whether consideration had been given to a ‘hybrid’ option where some services could be located at Maylord Orchards and others at Shirehall. The committee was advised that the business case for Shirehall had been provided to enable comparison with that for Maylord Orchards.
5. Referring to the ‘Approach to economic case’ (committee page 67 / Cabinet page 87) which stated ‘Project options are fully considered in the strategic case’, the Chairperson emphasised that the existing project at Maylord Orchards had been omitted from the strategic case.
6. A committee member expressed a personal view that the case for Shirehall was convincing, particularly in view of the need for the refurbishment of the building.
7. The Chairperson noted that the agenda papers contained only a few references to the £4.2m required for the Phase 1 refurbishment works to the Shirehall building, with no further details provided. The Chairperson considered it striking that the economic case (including the Benefit Cost Ratio) did not include the costs of the Shirehall refurbishment works which were required to bring the building back ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
This report provides the Connected Communities Scrutiny Committee with its draft work programme until May 2024.
The draft work programme for the committee for the remainder of the municipal year 2023/24 was received.
That the work programme for 2023/24 be agreed.
Date of the next meeting