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Contact: Ian Gourlay (01462) 242703
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Matthew Hurst and Adam Mitchell, CC.
Councillor Simon Speller declared a non-pecuniary interest in Item 3 – Reimagining Fairlands Valley Park, as he was a District Commissioner for Stevenage Scouts, who had an informal lease on The Canyon Activity and a lease for a premises in Shephall View, which were used as bases for the scouts using the facilities in the Park.
To approve as a correct record the Minutes of the Environment & Economy Select Committee held on 3 December 2018.
It was RESOLVED that the Minutes of the Environment & Economy Select Committee meeting held on 3 December 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
To consider a presentation on proposals for the reimagining of Fairlands Valley Park.
The Select Committee received a presentation from the Culture, Wellbeing and Leisure Services Manager regarding the review of the strengths and weaknesses of the current offer in terms of both the quality and commercial viability of the services provided at Fairlands Valley Park, together with future opportunities for improving the offer.
The Chair read out the views of the Executive Member for Children, Young People & Leisure and a Member of the Committee, both of whom had been unable to attend the meeting, regarding the review.
The following comments were made by Select Committee Members regarding the presentation:
· Possible adaptations to allow users of the Park to be able to enjoy a continuous walk around the main lake would be welcomed;
· Some general housekeeping work was required in terms of the presentation of the Sailing Centre/Café building, communal area in front of the building and the compound;
· Officers should continue to work with Stevenage Leisure Limited to provide a more accessible offer for pay and play and free activities which did not require pre-booking and specialist skills such as sailing courses;
· Some work would be required to resolve some of the existing issues relating to the Park before addressing aspirational opportunities;
· The review should be rolled out to community groups that used the Park, together with residents’ groups that bordered the Park in Chells, Pin Green, Bedwell, Shephall and Broadwater;
· The opening hours of the café at the sailing centre were restrictive;
· The hours of operation of the toilet facilities at the sailing centre should be expanded (ie. they should not solely be available during hours when the café was open);
· It should be stressed to residents that the review was aimed at increasing the offer in the Park, and that it would not be considering any alternative uses for the land (eg) residential use;
· Increased signage in the Bedwell area, directing people to the Park, would be welcomed;
· The review needed to balance activities for which there were charges/fees payable against the informal use of the Park;
· The various restrictions in the Park made it difficult to put on community based events in the Park, such as fun runs etc.;
· Public Transport access to the Park was extremely limited;
· Lighting in certain areas of the Park could be improved;
· The dilapidated bandstand should be refurbished so that it can be used for small events;
· The condition of the car park on the south side of the Park should be improved;
· Consideration should be given to widening some of the paths/cycleways, with appropriate signage on path surfaces.
It was RESOLVED:
1. That the comments of Members of the Select Committee be taken into consideration by officers in the ongoing work on the review, and that the theme be put forward as a potential review item for the Select Committee for 2019/20.
2. That wider consultation on the Fairlands Valley Park Review be carried out with users of the Park, including organised and non-organised groups, ... view the full decision text for item 3.
URGENT PART 1 BUSINESS
To consider any Part 1 business accepted by the Chair as urgent.
EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS
To consider the following motions –
1. That under Section 100(A) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as described in paragraphs1 – 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act as amended by Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006.
2. That Members consider the reasons for the following reports being in Part II and determine whether or not maintaining the exemption from disclosure of the information contained therein outweighs the public interest in disclosure.
URGENT PART II BUSINESS
To consider any Part II business accepted by the Chair as urgent.