Contact: Scott Bonner/ Chris Lunn
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations of interest.
There were no declarations of interest received at this point in the meeting.
Minutes- Ad Hoc Scrutiny Panel - 3 November 2020
The minutes of the Ad Hoc Scrutiny Panel meeting held on 3 November were submitted and approved as a correct record.
The Mayor and Executive Member for Regeneration will be in attendance to answer the Panel's questions relating to Boho X.
The Chair explained that at the previous meeting of the Corporate Affairs and Audit Committee on 15 October 2020 the Director of Regeneration and Culture and the Head of Development provided information relating to the governance processes followed for BOHO X from an officer’s perspective.
Both the Chair of Corporate Affairs and Audit and the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board agreed an Ad Hoc Scrutiny Panel should be convened to better understand this issue from a political perspective.
The Chair invited the Mayor to provide information about BOHO X before inviting the Panel to pose their questions.
As part of his presentation the Mayor made the following points:
<![if !supportLists]>• <![endif]>After being elected he was made aware of a fund totalling approximately £20 million from the Tees Valley Combined Authority for regeneration initiatives.
<![if !supportLists]>• <![endif]>The fund was notionally available to Middlesbrough Council.
<![if !supportLists]>• <![endif]>Discussions had taken place about how to utilise the funding, with a focus on developing and growing the Town’s digital sector.
<![if !supportLists]>• <![endif]>There had been a lack of clarity about if the Council could access the fund.
<![if !supportLists]>• <![endif]>At that point there was no plan for a new building or digital campus.
<![if !supportLists]>• <![endif]>A basic graphical illustration had been drawn up to that point, however this was conceptual in nature.
<![if !supportLists]>• <![endif]>There was a determination for the Council to secure the fund.
<![if !supportLists]>• <![endif]>Discussions took place between the Council and the Tees Valley Mayor about how the Council could secure the fund.
<![if !supportLists]>• <![endif]>Following a meeting between the Tees Valley Mayor and Middlesbrough Council representatives, the Mayor felt this was the beginning of the project.
<![if !supportLists]>• <![endif]>By the time the concept of BOHO X was launched there was a great deal of excitement about the project.
<![if !supportLists]>• <![endif]>Several businesses paid deposits for places in the new building, something that had not really happened outside London.
<![if !supportLists]>• <![endif]>There was support from a political, officer and financial perspective however at that point the Covid Pandemic began forcing a reevaluation of the project.
A Member made a point of clarification that in March 2019 the Executive considered a report that included details for a new building including floor plans and funding.
The Member commented that at a previous OSB Call In meeting, the Mayor stated it was important to secure the advice of relevant experts for projects such as BOHO. The Member queried what experts the Mayor consulted and what professional challenge was received for the BOHO X project, specifically regarding why a tower block was the most appropriate design.
The Mayor responded that previous plans had approved a concept, without confirming funding for the Council.
Expert opinion was sought from a local architect with a great deal of expertise in this area. It was confirmed that am additional architect was consulted about the project to add further support to the project.
The Mayor clarified that the land in Middlehaven would increase in value depending how it was developed. In this case, when building on low-rise principles more land ... view the full minutes text for item 20/7
Any other urgent items which in the opinion of the Chair, may be considered.