Agenda and minutes

Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel - Wednesday 9th March, 2022 10.30 am

Venue: Virtual Meeting

Contact: Susan Lightwing 

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 - Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel - 9 February 2022 pdf icon PDF 253 KB


The minutes of the meeting of the Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 9 February 2022 were taken as read and approved as a correct record.


The Panel was informed that at a recent meeting, local bus operator Stagecoach had agreed to liaise with Middlesbrough Council’s Planning Department to enable them to play a more active part in the planning process when applications for new housing developments were submitted.


The Panel was also informed that Environment Services had been alerted to additional areas suitable for establishing micro forests and more trees in Middlesbrough which would hopefully be included in future planting schemes.




The Green Strategy

West Bromwich Outdoor Market – presentation from the Markets Manager, Sandwell MBC.


Grey to Green Scheme – presentation from the Principal Development Officer, Sheffield City Council


RECOMMENDATION: that the Panel determines whether further information is required.


The Markets Manager, Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council was in attendance and gave a presentation about the West Bromwich Outdoor Market.


Sandwell Council was situated to the west of Birmingham in what was traditionally called the Black Country: comprising Sandwell, Walsall, Dudley and West Bromwich, with a population of approximately 300,000.   There were quite high levels of deprivation compared to English averages.  The Borough of Sandwell had six towns, with West Bromwich being the main one and it had been designated as a regional centre.


A master planning exercise was undertaken ten years ago to look at the area at a regional level and develop a masterplan of infrastructure developments.  Wolverhampton, Dudley and Walsall were all regional Councils that had the benefit of being built around a primary town or city, whereas Sandwell had six towns.  West Bromwich had a population of around 60,000.


A Business Improvement District had been developed in West Bromwich and this generated in the region of £280K a year from levies which facilitated the town centre functions.   The Market Service was a critical element to town centre re-development and regeneration.  Sandwell’s oldest market was established in 1709 by Letters Patent.  In roughly 90% of the Borough, Sandwell Council controlled market rights.  There were a couple of private markets that were permitted and the Council also protected their rights and facilitated markets rather than actively trying to stop them.


Sandwell Council generated income from its market service and prior to the Covid pandemic was generating about £0.5 million net income, which was a useful amount of money for the Council.  Since the pandemic, that income amount had collapsed and the Council was trying to build it back up again. 


The West Bromwich market had been operating since 1984 and was originally set up in the pedestrianised high street and run on demountable stalls.  In 2004 the stalls were replaced with permanent steel structures with a tin roof that was very functional and worked well.  However, over time there a high level of anti-social behaviour, including drug dealing, occurred within the market area.  Although there was CCTV in operation, the drug dealers would congregate under the market stalls, deal drugs, intimidate traders, and hide drugs on the stalls.  


Much of West Bromwich’s town centre retail assets were in poor condition and also in private ownership.  Sandwell Council owned only about six shops in the town centre.  There was a mix of ownership models including  four shopping centres owned by Corporates, owner-occupiers, or small landlords who let their properties.  There was not a lot of investment in the upkeep of these buildings so there was quite poor stock in many places. 


Planners considered that street markets are a significant contributor to retail diversification and similar to most Councils currently, Sandwell was looking at how to diversify the high street.  Street markets were seen as a contributor to that process, especially in Sandwell where many residents had a low income.  Markets were used by quite a lot of the population  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21/63


CityFibre Update

The City Manager for the Tees Valley build programmes will be in attendance to provide an update on broadband installation in Middlesbrough.


RECOMMENDATION: that the Panel determines whether further information is required.


The Chair informed the Panel that unfortunately the presenter for this item was ill and unable to attend today’s meeting.


AGREED that the item was DEFERRED to a future Panel meeting.


Date of Next Meeting - 6 April 2022


The next meeting of the Economic Development, Environment and Infrastructure Scrutiny Panel would take place at 10.30 am on Wednesday 6 April 2022.


Overview and Scrutiny Board Update

The Chair will provide a verbal update on matters considered at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board held on 22 February 2022.


The Chair provided a verbal update on the Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting held on 22 February 2022.


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