Agenda item

Questions on Notice (Procedure Rule 9.2)


The Leader responded to two questions that had been submitted in accordance with Council Procedure Rule 9.2.


a)        Question from Councillor Antonia Pulsford


Councillor Pulsford asked the following question:


“Have other consultancies besides NW Environmental Ltd. been asked for their proposals for upgrading Arrow Valley Park, and if so, when will Council see theirpresentations?”


The Leader responded as follows:


Thank you for your question


There were no other consultancies engaged in support of a funding application. NW Environmental Ltd were jointly procured by the Environment Agency and Redditch Borough Council competitively, against 10 other companies, all of whom had a successful history of the Heritage Lottery Fund bid process. All tenders were assessed on their ability to deliver based on proposed project management, relevant experience and project delivery. Due to the joint funding and sensitivities around the competitive tendering process the financial details could not be made available to the public at this stage.


No other consultancies were engaged for their opinions as this would require further expense.  However if the Borough was successful at stage 1, assistance would be required to develop the application to a stage two bid submission and NW Environmental Ltd would be able to further tender for this work at the appropriate time.


Due to the speculative nature in the preparation of the ‘First Stage’ application (to be submitted in March 2018) to the Heritage Lottery Fund for Arrow Valley Country Park, user stakeholders’ opinions had been sought to determine outline views on the viability of a funding submission. This was in line with the funding body application requirements. These stakeholders had received feedback and letters of support for the outline principles of a stage 1 application sought.


The stage 1 application had been jointly funded by the Environment Agency and the Borough. The current speculative data was not for the public domain at this stage as it was a provisional baseline data set to inform a detailed formal and costed Stage 2 submission. There would be the need to have a full public discussion through the democratic process if the Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the Council a ‘Stage 1 application’.


Redditch Borough Council with its funding partner The Environment Agency, sought professional assistance in securing a first round submission to the Heritage Lottery Fund (for the current financial year). Following advice from Heritage Lottery Fund Officers believed that the Borough could have a sound foundation for a submission for external grant aid via the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘funding programme’.  However, in order to give the Borough the strongest possible chance of success, Officers identified a requirement to review key elements of the data to ensure that it reflected the recent changes to the Heritage Lottery Fund ‘funding objectives’.


The changes in the key outcomes for Heritage Lottery Fund funding focused more on people and communities, and it was these elements - amongst a number of other issues which needed to be addressed within the application. The application process was in two stages. The first stage sought to determine if the project would meet the objectives of the Heritage Lottery Fund and also to identify areas of the project for development (which could be funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund).


If successful in stage 1, the second stage would be progressed and would be the detailed proposal which Officers would seek Members’ approval for before submission. Stage 2 applications would be required to include such items such as a business plan, restoration plans and proposals demonstrating participation and involvement of the local community.”


Councillor Pulsford thanked the Leader for his detailed and comprehensive response and did not ask a subsidiary question.


b)        Question from Councillor Juliet Brunner


Councillor Brandon Clayton asked the following question on behalf of Councillor Juliet Brunner:


“2018 marks the centenary of the year that women in the UK were first granted the right to vote. The Representation of the People Act of 1918 granted the vote to women over the age of 30 who met a property qualification. Would the leader join with me to host an Equalities event, here in our town hall - the heart of our local democracy - to celebrate this momentous occasion?”


The Leader responded as follows:


“Thank you for your question


Clearly I welcome and support this landmark 100th anniversary; I am looking forward to celebrating this act which granted the right to vote for women over the age of 30.


I can advise Council that I have already been contacted by Laney Walsh, the Unison Branch Secretary here at the town hall, who has invited me and indeed all members of the Council to attend and support a Unison branch event which they are organising for the same Anniversary. I will quote from the letter:


We would like to celebrate with an event that profiles the huge part that women have played in (our) society since the Act in 1918. And the impact our town and our women have had on equalities”.  


I have already replied and accepted the invitation,

I am sure you and all members would also wish to attend and support this event.”


Councillor Clayton confirmed that he was satisfied that the event that was being organised by Unison was a fitting tribute and he encouraged all Members to participate.


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