Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council

Big plans, bright future

Tees Valley Joint Strategy Committee Minutes

Thursday, 8th March, 2007
02.00 p.m.
Committee Room B, Town Hall, Hartlepool
Please note: all Minutes are subject to approval at the next Meeting

Attendance Details

Councillor Cook (Chairman).
Representing Darlington Borough Council: Councillor Lyonette.
Representing Hartlepool Borough Council: Councillors Coward, Preece and R Waller.
Representing Middlesbrough Council: Councillor Budd.
Representing Stockton on Tees Borough Council: Councillors Cherrett and Larkin.
Representing Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council: Councillor Dunning.
J Lowther, J Spruce (Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit); P K Bell (Stockton on Tees Borough Council); A Conti (Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council); G Thompson (Hartlepool Borough Council).
Apologies for absence:
Councillors Brady, Collins, Empson, Lupton, Mawston, Richmond, Moody, Scott, Smith, Teasdale, Thompson, D Waller, M Waller, Wallis, Ward and Williams.
Item Description Decision

The minutes of the meeting held on 28th September 2006 were agreed as a correct record.
RESOLVED that the Progress Report on the Tees valley City Region Business Case be noted.

1. The report be noted.

2. The required individual decisions to proceed with any future business case submissions and proposed changes to the governance structure be taken through the required approvals process in each Local Authority.

1. The schedule of Structure Plan policies that should be saved until the replacement Regional Spatial Strategy (View: Shaping the North East) be adopted;

2. The schedule be forwarded to the five Tees Valley Unitary Authorities for endorsement, and

3. The North East Assembly and Government Office North East be informed of this decision.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.

1. The Tees Valley Minerals and Waste Key Issues and Alternative Options Report and accompanying SA Scoping Report be noted and approved for issue as public consultation documents for the statutory period 21 May - 30 June 2007;

2. Prior to publication, the Reports be referred to each Authority for Cabinet /Committee endorsement as appropriate.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.

1. The proposed budget for 2007/2008 be approved.

2. The Director of the JSU in consultation with the Chairman and Vice-Chairman be authorised to carry out 100% virement between any of the budget headings associated with premises, transport, supplies and services, and external support services costs. Any other virement would require JSC approval.
RESOLVED that the report be noted.


Councillor Cook declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item no.8 - Chemical Sector Skills Funding as he was employed in the chemical industry.

Councillor Dunning declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item no.8 - Chemical Sector Skills Funding as his son and brother in law were employed in the chemical industry.

Councillor Cook declared a personal non prejudicial interest in respect of agenda item no.10 - JSU - Projected Outturn Report 200607 as he was a Member of the Tourism Partnership.
Consideration was given to the minutes of the meeting dated the 28th September 2006.
There were no matters arising.
Consideration was given to a progress report on the Tees Valley City Region Business Case.

At the end of September 2006 the Tees Valley authorities submitted the Tees Valley City Region Business Case to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The submission consisted of the business case/development programme, the economic analysis to back up the case, a 10 year investment plan, a green infrastructure strategy and a series of outline business cases on transport proposals - the bus network review, heavy rail improvements/Metro and the strategic road network. The response from Government had been very favourable. A delegation of 8 civil servants from the Department of Communities and Local Government, HM Treasury, Department of Trade and Industry, Department of Work and Pensions and Department of Transport visited the Tees Valley on the 1st and 2nd February 2007. The visit involved:-

a) A discussion on the economic analysis and strategy with JSU, academics, GO-NE and One NorthEast;
b) A discussion with the Tees Valley Chief Executives on the Tees Valley Unlimited proposals and the multi area agreement;
c) Independent discussions with One NorthEast, North East Learning and Skills and Jobcentre Plus;
d) A dinner at Hartlepool Historic Quay hosted by Jonathan Blackie with the Tees Valley Chief Executives, other agencies and key people from the business community to discuss taking the business case forward;
e) A business breakfast;
f) A discussion on the transport projects and the container terminal proposals for Teesport including a tour of the port;
g) A visit to Wilton to hear about the work of NEPIC, Renew Tees Valley and the Centre for Process Innovation;
h) A discussion on the role of the universities in regeneration and the regeneration programmes in the Tees Valley;
i) A presentation on the work of Tees Valley Living and a visit to South Bank as a practical example.

The Review Team would produce a full report, however their interim feedback was as follows:

a) they were impressed by the passion and commitment to the Tees Valley;
b) They were impressed with the universal support for the business case;
c) The business case was the best they had seen and was backed by a strong evidence base;
d) The strategy of concentrating on the economic assets was brave and the right approach. They were fed up in visiting other locations trying to claim that their economy could be built on a sector like nanotechnology but with no real base in the area;
e) The presentations on the universities, port, chemicals, energy, CPI had gone well and showed real innovation;
f) The HMR case was strong and integrated into the whole regeneration agenda;
g) It was shown that the regeneration projects were related to economic activity and to skills needs of the community;
h) They supported the Tees Valley Unlimited concept and the Multi Area Agreement proposal. However they considered that a skills and employability board should be more than advisory and that of skills/employability budget from LSC/JCP should be highlighted in the multi area agreement.

In terms of improvement, they concluded:

a) There was a need to develop a skills strategy for the Tees Valley which showed how the high level skills required for chemicals, energy, advanced engineering, digital/multi media, logistics, financial and business services will be met and how it was proposed to enable people from deprived communities gain access to jobs both in the key sectors and at major regeneration sites;
b) Whilst it was clear that the Tees Valley do prioritise, there was a need to carry out a more formal process of prioritisation.

Overall the Review Team gained a very positive impression of the Tees Valley and was impressed with the quality and the innovative work going on in the Tees Valley across the board. The Treasury member of the Panel outlined that they found the visit really useful in the context of the Comprehensive Spending Review.

Other items of progress were:

a) A paper setting out the governance arrangements and broad structure of Tees Valley Unlimited had been approved by Tees Valley Local Authority Chief Executives for submission to each Authority's Cabinet;
b) One NorthEast had agreed to incorporate the Tees Valley Investment Plan into their Corporate Plan;
c) Negotiations were taking place with DCLG to develop a multi area agreement to cover cross boundary transport projects, the Tees Valley Investment Plan and the Housing Market Restructuring resources;
d) The Transport projects were proceeding well. ONE and the Northern Way had agreed to jointly fund the Metro Business Case to Department for Transport programme entry;
e) Key Tees Valley transport projects were incorporated into the Northern Way priorities;
f) The proposals for Transport for Tees Valley were seen by the LGA and Department for Transport as innovative and there may be some money from the innovation fund to help with setting up costs;
g) An implementation plan was being prepared to implement the new governance arrangements in shadow form by July with the new structures to become fully operational by April 2008;
h) Work was taking place on developing further strategy work on skills, employability and the development of the chemicals/energy industry.

Members felt that this had been an excellent piece of work and congratulated Officers from the Joint Strategy Unit on their efforts. There had been unanimous support from the public, private and third sector for the proposals and this had been vital to the success of the Business Case. The next year should see the Tees Valley benefit from this work.
Consideration was given to a report which outlined that during the preparation of the Second Local Transport Plans (LTPs) in 2005 and the early part of 2006, the five Tees Valley Authorities, together with the Tees Valley Joint Strategy Unit (JSU), produced a common chapter within each LTP setting out the Tees Valley context within which the LTPs would deliver local transport improvements between 2006 and 2011.

The Tees Valley City Region Development Programme (CRDP), published in May 2005, set out the proposals designed to transform the economic performance of the Tees Valley and identified a number of barriers to growth that need to be addressed. One of these barriers was connectivity, and three specific barriers were set out within the CRDP:
• The need to improve internal connectivity by public transport;
• The need to improve external connectivity to the City Region;
• A concern of the Highways Agency about the ability of the A19(T) and A66(T) to cope with future development.

As part of the update of the CRDP and the preparation of the City Region Business Case in October 2006, the Tees Valley Authorities and the JSU had developed a City Region Transport Strategy, entitled 'Connecting the Tees Valley' which set out the preferred strategy and City Region interventions to support the economic growth objectives and deliver the necessary transport services to reflect the changing demands.

The strategy was, in essence, the common chapter of the Tees Valley Authoritiesf Second LTPs, updated where applicable to incorporate the more recent work on the CRDP/Business Case, and to reflect the most up-to-date position regarding our critical interventions aimed at overcoming the three barriers listed above.

The key City Region transport interventions contained within "Connecting the Tees Valley" were:
• Tees Valley Bus Network Improvements;
• Tees Valley Heavy Rail Improvements;
• A66(T)/A19(T)/A174(T) Area Action Plan.

The paper included an update on the position of all three of these interventions, identifying the next steps in their delivery and where there would be further consultations with, and decisions required from, Members. Much work had already been done on the proposals, and 2007 would see a number of important milestones in their delivery.

The paper also included a brief update on the governance proposals for a new City Region Transport Board, being developed within the wider context of Tees Valley Unlimited, the proposed new Metropolitan Economic Partnership.
Consideration was given to a report which outlined that under current planning legislation the Tees Valley Structure Plan would cease to be a development plan after 27th September 2007. However there was a procedure for extending the life of specific policies in the Structure Plan, and a case had to be made by the North East Assembly, as Regional Planning Body, in conjunction with the structure plan authority. Such an extension would cover the period until the replacement Regional Spatial Strategy (RSS) for the North East is adopted.

The government had identified a number of criteria against which it would assess applications to extend the life of specific structure plan policies, and the Joint Strategy Unit, in conjunction with officers of the Tees Valley Borough Councils, had identified a number of policies that should be saved beyond September 2007. Saving these policies would avoid any significant policy voids until the replacement RSS is published, facilitate progress on the Borough Local Development Frameworks and provide a continuing strategic planning context for the consideration of major development proposals.

The Structure Plan policies proposed for saving beyond September 2007 were set out in a schedule attached to the report. The policy areas proposed for saving included:-

Locational Strategy - providing detail at sub-regional level on the priorities and broad locations of future development

Economy - strategic locations for prestige employment development

Environment - strategic gaps, as these were not covered in local plan policy

Housing - broad locations for strategic greenfield housing sites, and options for flexibility in housing density

Transport - providing a strategic context for certain major transport proposals and safeguarding appropriate corridors. Examples included an additional Tees Crossing, the East Middlesbrough Transport Corridor, and the Darlington Cross-Town Route

Town Centres and Shopping - retail hierarchy
Consideration was given to a report on chemical sector skills funding. It was outlined that the Joint Strategy Unit had co-ordinated a study on chemical sector skills. This study was undertaken as one part of the European Chemical Regions Network project and considered skills issues across the sector from different EU Regions. Recommendations from the report suggested that future action should be taken to:-

Predict future industry developments and skills needs

Encourage graduates into science and industry

Further exchange practice on systems for learning related to the sctor and perhaps some joint development of training projects.

Some work had commenced on progressing the future actions recommended by the Skills Study and the report provided a brief outline of recommendations.
Consideration was given to a report which outlined that the Joint Strategy Unit was preparing Joint Minerals and Waste Development Plan documents on behalf of the Tees Valley local planning authorities. Publication of the Key Issues and Alternative Options Report was a statutory requirement under the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004. The Report was aimed to be published for the required 6 weeks public consultation period 21 May - 30 June 2007 identified as a Key Milestone in each local authority Local Development Statement (LDS). Publication of the Preferred Options Report in February 2008 for a further statutory 6 weeks public consultation was the next Key Milestone.

The Key Issues and Alternative Options Report represented the first stage of preparing the Minerals and Waste Development Plan Documents. The Report identified issues affecting minerals and waste development, and provided spatial planning options for dealing with these. Public consultation would allow communities, organisations and businesses to have their say on what options should be used in the Tees Valley to deal with minerals and waste issues. The consultation would also allow any further issues to be identified, and for options to be put forward for consideration on how to deal with such further issues. A Sustainability Appraisal (SA) Scoping Report of all of the issues and options currently identified would accompany the Key Issues and Alternative Options Report and would be used to assess the performance of the options against the baseline conditions identified within the SA Scoping Report.
Consideration was given to a report which provided an estimate of the 2006/2007 outturn based on information available to date and showed an anticipated overspend of £117,000. This was primarily due to costs associated with setting up the Area Tourism Partnership and also the need to repay part of the ERDF grant funding received for a tourism project, completed in December 2005, for which final settlement had not yet been agreed but was expected to be in the order of £36,000.
The overspend would be funded from the Unit's reserves.
Both income and expenditure had been significantly greater than envisaged at the time the original budget was approved and the net figure masked some very significant variations within the individual elements of the budget. These were explained in more detail within the report. The variations were primarily due to the addition of projects (with associated funding) materialising since the initial budget was approved. This necessarily distorts the Unit's budget in terms of meaningful comparison with the ‘Approved Budget'
Costs associated with Tees Valley Living (the Housing Market Restructuring project team) were incorporated into the accounts.
Consideration was given to a report which provided a proposed budget for the Joint Strategy Unit for 2007/08 based on the previous year's budget and information relating to current expenditure patterns and agreed/projected income streams. The total budget showed a decrease of 6.6% from the previous year due to a decrease in 'capital' expenditure on projects such as Light Rail Transport and Real Time Systems. However, the Unit's activities (both core and project) continued to expand, increasing the need to seek additional sources of funding.
The ‘core funding' contribution from the five Tees Valley authorities represented a 1.28% increase on the previous year. This comprised an increase of 2.56% to cover ‘inflation', coupled with a 1.25% ‘Gershon reduction'.
Members were aware, discussions were taking place with regard to the formation of a new organisation (Tees Valley Unlimited) and this may well require a new staffing structure and budget. The report however provided a budget for the JSU under its current structure and assuming that the status quo be maintained.
Discussions were also taking place regarding the possible transfer of the Joint Passenger Transport Group from Redcar & Cleveland Borough Council to the JSU. The budget presented in the report did not include any provision for the JPTG. It was essential that any such transfer of staff/functions was accompanied by full budgetary provision.
Members were presented with a list of meetings that had been attended by Officers of the Joint Strategy Unit from 29th September 2006 to 7th March 2007.

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