Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Windmill Street, Gravesend DA12 1AU. View directions

Contact: Committee Section 

Items
No. Item

18.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

No apologies for absence were received.

19.

To sign the minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of Overview Scrutiny Committee held on Thursday, 21 September 2023 were agreed and signed by the Chair.

20.

To declare any interests which members may have on the items contained on this agenda. When declaring an interest members must state what their interest is.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made.

21.

Call Ins - Item 8: Market Procurement

Items ‘Called In’ from the Cabinet meeting of 02 October 2023.

 

The Chair of the Overview Scrutiny Committee has called in the following

item for the meeting on Thursday 12 October 2023, 7:30pm: -

 

Item 8: Market Procurement

 

Reason:

 

·       To ensure that the decision represents value for money and to assess if proper due diligence is in place.

·       To ensure that the decision will not adversely impact our town centre offer.

·       To consider the impacts of moving to an operational management operation.

·       To evaluate how this decision is reflective of the public's feedback from previous consultations.

 

Officers: Jamie Izzard (Director of Community and Inclusive Growth)

 

Cabinet Member: Cllr Lauren Sullivan (Cabinet Member for Community and                         Leisure)

 

(Please bring the Cabinet agenda for 02 October 2023 previously circulated to Members).

Minutes:

The Head of Town Centre & Cultural Services presented Members with the Market Procurement report that was presented at Cabinet on Monday 02 October 2023. The report set out the background and current position of the Gravesend Borough Market and highlighted the visions and objectives set out in the strategy.

 

The report also detailed the outcomes delivered in the strategy from 2020 – 2023. Although considerable achievements had been made, the reality was that the Council had not been able to achieve what they had hoped – especially throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. There had been successes with market businesses moving into commercial units in the town centre, but equally changes such as the drop in the European Go Trade Fund had affected the Market and the Council struggled to achieve its full potential. In December 2022 the Council undertook an informal discussion with market operators, traders and organisations to run the Market more effectively.

 

The recommendations in the report included delegating authority to the Director (Communities and Inclusive Growth) to contract an appropriate organisation to deliver Operational Management of the Gravesend Borough Market. This did not include a change of ownership; the Market building would remain an asset of the Council. There was an anticipated saving of £100,000 in year one, rising to £126,000 per annum thereafter from this arrangement.

 

Cllr Lauren Sullivan (Cabinet Member for Community & Leisure) advised Members that this report had also been presented to the Community and Leisure Cabinet Committee where it was felt that there was good cross-party support on the actions being taken.

 

Following questions and comments from Members, Cllr Sullivan (Cabinet Member for Community and Leisure) and the Head of Town Centre and Cultural Services explained the following:

 

  • Some Councils had been moving away from the traditional management of Market operations. Greenwich and Folkestone Harbour Arm, for example, operated on different management arrangements.
  • Some organisations that the Council had spoken with had supported markets that had changed their model. These organisations and operators have more links than the Council does. This was seen locally, such as Faversham, Sittingbourne, and Medway. The Council did not have the same links and experience of trading.
  • Consultations in 2019 proved that the public wanted a food and leisure offer and to visit the Market for an experience. The Go Trade Funding had helped with enticing visitation through events. Without the funding and following the pandemic, the nature of the market had changed. The Council were looking to act and do something positive. This presented a huge opportunity to put the Gravesend Market on the map, especially with Thames Clipper, it could encourage Gravesham to be the go-to destination. This didn’t just include the residents of Gravesham, but encouraging wider visitation.
  • The Council wanted the Market to flourish and increase in footfall, but despite best efforts, such as the refurbishment, it was felt that this was the best time to bring in an external operator.
  • The Charter would bring over 500 residents to the Markets doorstep, providing a great  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.