Venue: Virtual Meeting
Contact: Neil Barnett Scrutiny Adviser
Councillors Chris Evans, Charles Ferris and Martyn Kellaway
Declaration of Interest
Regeneration, Investment and Housing
- Tracey Brooks - Acting Head of Regeneration Investment and Housing
- Councillor Jane Mudd - Leader of Council and Cabinet Member for Economic Growth and Investment
The committee was presented with a brief overview of the report by the acting Head of Regeneration, Investment and Housing to highlight the key challenges and opportunities that the service area faced during the past financial year. The Lead Officer highlighted that the report offered some insight into unprecedented challenges during the period of the pandemic which had a significant impact on the service area, for instance, it meant dealing a lot with vulnerable residents but also delivering services as usual in the wake of the new way of working.
The committee was advised of how the service area stepped up to the challenge by continuing with support for the neighbourhood hubs. It was implied that it was actually a good year for the community hubs as the operating model was only launched just prior to Covid-19. This showed how Community Hub colleagues and partner services were able to deliver front facing and very critical services either through face to face or virtual methods. It was also pointed out that Flying Start areas were able to keep going due to the team’s support and food parcels were still delivered to those who had to shield. Baby bundles were also dispatched to many new mothers in need.
The officer stressed to the members that there was a significant impact on the economic development work. But despite this, the committee was assured that it did not stop the team’s aspirations to grow Newport as a City and has not stopped to drive refurbishment and regeneration work within the city. For instance, the work still continues for the Central Arcade and also for a new Health and Wellbeing Centre which would unlock a site for Coleg Gwent to have a new campus. The officer explained that this shows how the team worked well under pressure to react to the pandemic accordingly yet also had to drive the service forward with facilities and further opportunities.
It was made clear to the committee that the service area’s most challenging area was the impact on homelessness from the pandemic. The team tried very hard to accommodate people who were struggling in the face of losing 300 plus units, which were usually used to house those people. The committee was advised that there was a significant reduction in rough sleeping over the course of the pandemic but implied that there has been a big demand in temporary accommodation due to many hotels not operating and usually used hotels for the team’s accommodation needs. But however despite this, the team stepped up and delivered in the face of significant challenges in the past year.
The Leader of the Council concurred with the Head of Regeneration, Investment and Housing.
The chair opened up questioning for the lead officer.
The Committee asked the following:
· The Committee queried ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
a) Forward Work Programme Update (Appendix 1)
· Neil Barnett – Scrutiny Adviser
The Scrutiny Adviser presented the Forward Work Programme, and informed the Committee of the topics due to be discussed at the next two committee meetings:
Monday 6th September 2021
· Staff Support
· Economic Growth Strategy and Economic Recovery Plan – Recommendations Monitoring
Monday 1st November 2021
· 2021-22 Service Plan Mid-Year Review for:
- Law and Regulation
- People and Business Change