Agenda and draft minutes

Culture and Communities Scrutiny Panel - Thursday 21st July, 2022 1.30 pm

Venue: Mandela room

Contact: Susie Blood 

No. Item


Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest.


There were no Declarations of Interest received at this point in the meeting.


Minutes - Culture and Communities Scrutiny Panel - 23 June 2022 pdf icon PDF 223 KB


The minutes of the Culture and Communities Scrutiny Panel held on 23 June 2022 were submitted and approved as a correct record.



Future High Street Fund

Sam Gilmore - Head of Economic Growth and Infrastructure will provide the panel with a presentation in realtion to the future high street fund and the development of the town centre.


The Chair welcomed Sam Gilmore, Head of Economic Growth and Infrastructure who was in attendance to provide information of the future high street fund and the development of the town centre.


Before covid, town centres have been changing significantly as many have been shopping online, especially those on a retail focus. There is an oversupply of retail space for businesses and this causes many of the current issues and is exacerbated because of the four large, competing shopping centres.


When covid emerged (although it is a reason, not an excuse), online shopping escalated, however the fragility of retail was present long before Covid. However, retail will always have a role but it will need to re-invent and adapt to new commercial conditions, however the Council has no power to compel more retailers to return to the town centre. Research has shown that people have time for leisure, free time and we need to compete with outside shopping centres. It demonstrates people’s passion for experiences and interaction.


In terms of the strategy, it is based on Densification and Diversification, we need to do the following:

        Living: building residential communities in central Middlesbrough.

       Skills and Learning: integrating our educational services and institutions.

       Working: Bringing Employment and Commercial uses to the centre.

       Health / Wellbeing: Bringing together public services together.

       Culture and Leisure: Providing entertainment and spaces for people to enjoy.

       Retail: Maintaining a strong retail component in the high street.


There were cross cutting themes to bring this together, these include:

       Transport – Delivering excellent transport and connectivity.

       Digital – Digitising our town centre and building The Digital City.

       Environment – Providing green spaces and public places which promote activity and wellbeing.

The officer advised that this would be delivered by the following diagram, the virtuous circle based on mutual sustainability, looking to Stabilise and Grow, continuing to adapt to trends and having a forward outlook- what till the town centre look like in 25 years?



In order to transform the Town centre, the Council  bid for £20.9m in funding and has successfully secured £14.1m from the Future High street fund (FHSF) in the Budget March 2021. The programme has been adjusted to match the funding offer and this has been approved by MHCLG. The current FHSF programme now comprises:

  1. £3.5m for residential property;
  2. £1.05m for transport adaptations and improving safety / security of town centre areas;
  3. £270,352 for cultural animation and experiences;
  4. £250k for businesses adaptations for covid mitigations; and,
  5. £9.1m for the transformation of Captain Cook Square for leisure uses, incentives, decant compensation, remodelling units, contribution to fit out and adapting public spaces.  This programme is underway.

Performance has been as follows:

       Residential – Funding offer to church house with 86 residential units.

       Transport, Safety and Security – we have contributed to some highway adaptations, parking enhancements and lighting projects. Zetland and Captain cook car parks have been painted to look  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/3


Cultural Strategy

Leanne Littlewood, Acting Head of Culture will provide a presentation in relation to the Cultural Strategy.



The Chair welcomed Leanne Littlewood, Acting Head of Culture to the meeting to provide the panel with an overview of the Cultural strategy.

In terms of internal facilities within culture, all are open after covid ; some are more successful then others and some are seeing the brunt of the cost of living.


In terms of Middlesbrough town hall:

         Town Hall: Community focussed activities Monday and Tuesdays continue with Commercial program the rest of the week. Sourcing program is challenging with less content available due to the pandemic and the continued pressure from the Globe scooping program that would once have certainly belonged at the Town Hall.

         Q1 the Town Hall delivered 36 shows and 49 workshops with 10,917. tickets sold

         Since the wedding brochure was launched in June 2021, 18 weddings and ceremonies have been booked.

         Reapplied to the Arts Council for NPO status which supports classical music development and engagement if successful it will bring us £250k a year for the next three years.  

Middlesbrough Theatre:

         Operates by the same staff as the town hall.

         Continues to provide a broad range of professional and amateur program.

         The hyper local audiences have returned as expected which can be seen in the Q1 attendance figures

         Middlesbrough Theatre: Q1 the delivered 49 shows with a footfall of 13193

         The theatre have added additional school performances for this year’s panto due to the high demand

Newham Grange Leisure Farm:

         First venue which reopened after Covid

         Q1 engaged 5540 in workshops

         Delivered 33 events

         Audience footfall of 30049

         New program out of hours starts with Moovies this summer – revenue intent and well received.

Parks and open spaces:

Council has been looked at ways to increase revenue, this has been done through the following:


Albert Park Snap shot:

         The Lawn Tennis Association (LTA) have in principle agreed to fund approximately £100k to refurbish the tennis courts at Albert Park and Pallister Park.

         Council was awarded £13,219.20 from the Holiday Activity Fund (HAF) to deliver a summer programme at Albert Park/Dorman Museum.

         Council have submitted an EOI with the Football Foundation to access funding to install Multi Use Games Areas in Middlesbrough. 

         Installing new Play equipment.

         Reinstating rowing boats and swans

         Fishing: Fish restocked so visitors can aim for a catch of the day (and throw it back again)

Park events:

         Lots of interest in Stewart park from external organisers

         Some residents were unhappy about the number of events and have objected to the licence applications made by third parties.

         In order to gage views, there was a drop in session consultation on 24 July 2022, where residents were given the chance to pop and speak directly to the Acting Head of Culture about any questions queries or worries they had about events.


         The Events team are on track to deliver/support more events in 2022 than they have every  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22/4


Chair's OSB Update

The Chair will provide a verbal update from Overview and Scrutiny meeting held on 19 July 2022.


The Chair provided an overview of the issues raised at the Overview and Scrutiny Board on 19 July 2022.


The Chair advised that whilst the Board had approved the panel’s work programme, it would add value to look at a cultural element. Following the presentation from the Acting Head of Culture , the panel would give further consideration and report back accordingly.


AGREED- That the update be noted and further consideration to given to the cultural aspect within the panel’s work programme.


Any other urgent items which in the opinion of the Chair, may be considered.


No Items.