The report was introduced by the Cabinet Member for City Centre Management, Culture and Tourism to provide Members with a progress report in relation to matters relevant to this Committee.
The Council’s Constitution set out the responsibilities of the Cabinet Member, including:
· Commercial Operations, including city centre management and tourism
· Culture and Leisure
These responsibilities fell under the remit of the Strong and Supportive Communities Scrutiny Committee, other responsibilities.
Key points highlighted within the report were as follows:
· Commercial Operations
· City Centre Management
· Culture and Leisure (Sports Strategy)
· Review of Libraries and Community Centres
· Culture Strategy
· Vivacity Contract
· Heritage, Libraries and Archives (HLA)
Members were asked to scrutinise the progress made on the aspects of the Cabinet Member’s portfolio relevant to the Committee by providing challenge where necessary and to suggest ideas and initiatives to support the continued delivery of priorities within that portfolio.
Observations and questions were raised around the following areas:
· Members requested information on the long term plans for the City Market. The Assistant Director for Commercial Operations responded that there were no plans to relocate the market, just develop it.
· Members were concerned that the rise in the city’s car parking charges would discourage people from using the city centre. Members were informed that the car parking charges had not been increased for a number of years, therefore, it needed to be balanced out.
· Members queried whether bowls and tennis courts were within the remit of Vivacity, as there were plans to reduce their use. The Culture and Leisure Partnership Manager responded that the Bowls club was not within the contract although, Vivacity were looking to put in a bid for it.
· Members were concerned that the War Memorial event in Peterborough was not very well attended. The Assistant Director for Commercial Operations responded that there had been a whole day dedicated to commemorate World War 1. The idea was to mark the occasion and not to attract thousands of people to the memorial.
· Members commented that Vivacity had performed very well under the current economic climate although, they did not feel they were open and transparent enough. The Culture and Leisure Partnership Manger responded that Vivacity had a standing item on the Strong and Supportive Communities Scrutiny Committee agenda. All of the advertisements for trustees were public. There was also an open email policy in place.
· Members commented that CCTV was one of the greatest assets Peterborough had, they made people feel safer.
· Members expressed concern for the future of the City Market and queried what the plans were. The Assistant Director for Commercial Operations responded that the new Market Development Manager was putting together a strategic plan for the City Market and suggested he was invited back to scrutiny once the plan had been drafted.
· Members asked if there was going to be any investment in to the City Market. Members were advised that this would be decided once there was understanding of the needs of the City Market. Some investment in painting and cleaning had already been carried out.
· Members queried if there had been any market research in to what people would like to see happen to the City Market. Members were informed that last Christmas, 2,500 people filled in a questionnaire and what they requested had already been actioned.
· Members suggested that new fencing was put in place around the Market.