Agenda and minutes

Contact: Lynn Cain  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary or Personal Interests and Non Disclosable Pecuniary/Other Interests


No declarations of interest were made.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 161 KB



that the minutes of the meeting of the Panel held on 3 September 2020, be received and approved as a correct record.


Guidance Update and Small Business/High Street Recovery pdf icon PDF 251 KB


The Chairman introduced the item and welcomed Martin Rigley, the Chairman of the Discover Ashfield Board, to the meeting who was kindly in attendance to offer a business perspective regarding small business and high street recovery following the recent Covid-19 lockdown. 


Theresa Hodgkinson (Director of Place and Communities), Trevor Middleton (Town Centres and Markets Manager) and Paul Stoppard (Senior Economic Development Officer), were also in attendance at the meeting to offer their insight and expertise to various aspects of business sector recovery as required.


Councillor Jim Blagden, Vice Chairman of the Panel, updated Members as to progress with the potential development of the Key Workers’ Memorial.  Having spoken to officers, it had been agreed to place an article in the next ‘Ashfield Matters’ publication to encourage residents to offer their views regarding the potential style and location for the memorial thus enabling the Council to gauge public opinion and progress the project accordingly.


Residents would be asked to respond via a dedicated email address and complete a short questionnaire and in addition, letters would also be sent out to local schools, voluntary groups and churches asking for their involvement in the process.  The publication was due to be circulated (to around 120,000 residents) with the annual bin calendars week commencing 23 November 2020.


The wording for the Key Workers’ Memorial article, to be placed in the ‘Ashfield Matters’ winter publication, was read out to the Panel for information.


The Service Manager, Scrutiny and Democratic Services outlined the current government guidelines for maintaining Covid secure environments within the business and retail sector including the ‘Hands/Face/Space slogan, the continued ‘Working from Home’ preference and enforcement rules for licenced premises.


It had been agreed at the previous meeting to focus the Panel’s work on the local business sector and this has been agreed to be carried out over the following two meetings.  Tonight’s meeting would concentrate on small businesses and high street recovery with the second meeting offering an opportunity for Panel Members to speak to local businesses and gain insight into their personal experiences during the pandemic.


The Panel were also being asked to consider the Economic Recovery Plan, as outlined in the report and decide on any interim recommendations for submission to Cabinet on 13 October 2020.


Theresa Hodgkinson, Director of Place and Communities

To date, the Council’s Environmental Health Team had worked with over 2,000 local businesses to offer support and guidance to keep them trading safely and efficiently during and after the recent lockdown.  The advice and support given had been exemplary and the Council had recently seen over 60 new registrations for food outlets which had been surprising given the difficulties being faced by so many as a result of the pandemic.


The Planning Team had also continued to work at full strength considering over 90 planning applications during the lockdown period.  Over £18.4 million in business grants had been administered which had assisted 1,614 local businesses.  The Discretionary Business Grant which had now superseded the original funding  ...  view the full minutes text for item CP.8


Local Government Reorganisation - Verbal Update


The Director of Legal and Governance (and Monitoring Officer) gave a brief update to the Panel in relation to Local Government Reorganisation.


Members were advised that the white paper on local government devolution and reorganisation had now been delayed until early 2021 with no clear time frame set out for completion.


Nottinghamshire County Council had recently written to Robert Jenrick, the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, asking him to invite the County Council to submit proposals for a unitary structure.  To date, it was not clear as to whether a response had been received or not.


Alongside this correspondence, the Leaders of Nottinghamshire’s District and Borough authorities has also written to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government, stating their collective position of opposition to any unitary structure within Nottinghamshire.


The Leader of the Council, in attendance at the meeting, spoke about working with neighbouring Leaders to formulate a collective view of opposition towards the consideration of local government reorganisation at this present time.  All authorities should be focussing squarely upon the current COVID-19 outbreak in the immediate future and endeavouring to find effective solutions to keeping services going during the outbreak and any further lockdowns.


No response to the letters sent to the Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government (three were sent in total) have yet been received and an update would be given as to any replies in due course.