Parr St Mill, Redrow, Calderstones Park, Project EV. Answers to council questions

LpoolTH

Liverpool Town Hall which hosted the January Council meeting where I asked 7 questions

Here are the answers to the 7 questions I asked at the Council on 18th January.  You can decide for yourself whether or not they were good answers. Perhaps it would be a good tip is to look at what was not answered! In some ways they were the best bit of the council the ‘debates’ were rubbish!

  1. Question to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport and Climate Change

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

Can the Cabinet Member say –

  1. When will the council complete its review of the fire at Parr Street mill?
  2. When will it make public its findings?

Answer

The Planning Authority has reviewed the various reports into the fire at Parr Street Mill. Additional reports had to be requested and these have now been submitted to the Council and reviewed. The Planning Authority are finalising a draft report which makes a number of recommendations and it is expected to be publicly available within the next 2 weeks.

  1. Question to the Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood Services

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

Given that I was told at the last council meeting by the Mayoral Lead on Parks that he would be fixing a date for a meeting within a week in relation to the management of Calderstones Park and nothing has happened, will the Cabinet Member please tell me his current thoughts on this issue and tell us all when such a meeting is likely to be held?

Answer

The recent priority for the Cabinet Member has been focussing on addressing the £90m budget management models for some of the city’s key parks remains a key consideration. The Cabinet Member has discussed the issue with the Mayoral Lead for Parks and a meeting of the Calderstones Park stakeholder group will take place in February 2017.

  1. Question to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport and Climate Change

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

In relation to the proposed move by Beechley Riding Stables from Harthill Road, can the Cabinet Member say –

  1. Has a business plan been drawn which includes the capital and revenue costs of the move?
  2. Has the business plan been submitted to the Heritage Lottery and/or other potential funders for support for the capital and revenue costs?
  3. When can we expect a final decision on whether a move is viable?
  4. Will the council support financially and capital or revenue shortfall caused by a move?
  5. When will a planning application be made?
  6. Will the planning application involve the advertising the loss of public open space?

Answer

  1. An initial stage 1 feasibility study has been prepared which the Council are reviewing. The stage 2 feasibility study will involve a business plan.
  2. No application has been made to any external funding body. Delivery of the scheme is not dependant on external funding.
  3. This is expected in Spring 2017
  4. The Council does not expect there to be a shortfall in the required capital to move the facility. As with the current facility the organisation will be responsible for all revenue costs
  5. Once the feasibility study and business plan has been signed off.
  6. If the proposal results in any loss of open space in respect of the new site then it will need to be advertised.
  1. Question to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport and Climate Change

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

In relation to the proposed move by Calder Kids from Harthill Road, can the Cabinet

Member say –

  1. Has a business plan been drawn which includes the capital and revenue costs of the move?
  2. Has the business plan been submitted to the Heritage Lottery and/or other potential funders for support for the capital and revenue costs?
  3. When can we expect a final decision on whether a move is viable?
  4. Will the council support financially and capital or revenue shortfall caused by a move?
  5. When will a planning application be made?
  6. Will the planning application involve the advertising the loss of public open space?

Answer

1 The business plan for the relocation is still being worked up

2 No application has been made to any external funding body. Delivery of the scheme is not dependant on external funding.

3 This is expected in Spring 2017.

4 The Council does not expect there to be a shortfall in the required capital to move the facility. As with the current facility the organisation will be responsible for all revenue costs

5 It is not anticipated a planning application will be required

6 If the proposal results in any loss of open space in respect of the new site then it will need to be advertised.

  1. Question to the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Transport and Climate Change

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

In relation to the proposed move by Calderstones Model Railway from Harthill Road, can the Cabinet Member say –

  1. Has a business plan been drawn which includes the capital and revenue costs of the move?
  2. Has the business plan been submitted to the Heritage Lottery and/or other potential funders for support for the capital and revenue costs?
  3. When can we expect a final decision on whether a move is viable?
  4. Will the council support financially and capital or revenue shortfall caused by a move?
  5. When will a planning application be made?
  6. Will the planning application involve the advertising the loss of public open space?

Answer

1 The business plan for the relocation is still being worked up

2 No application has been made to any external funding body. Delivery of the scheme is not dependant on external funding.

3 This is expected in Spring 2017.

4 The Council does not expect there to be a shortfall in the required capital to move the facility. As with the current facility the organisation will be responsible for all revenue costs.

5 A planning application was submitted on 6 January 2017.

6 If the proposal results in any loss of open space in respect of the new site then it will need to be advertised.

6, Question to the Mayor of Liverpool

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

Redrow Homes and the Strategic Partnership with the City Council:

Is the Mayor aware that Redrow threatened the council with none determination if it did not deal with the Allerton Priory application before Christmas?

Is he aware that Redrow did not turn up to the Planning Committee?

Is he further aware that Redrow have already said that they will take the decision to appeal?

Does he think that these are the actions of a partner?

Does he think that the Strategic Housing Partnership with Redrow still exists?

Answer

No the Mayor is not aware that Redrow threatened the Council with none determination if it did not deal with Allerton Priory before Christmas.

No, the Mayor is not aware that Redrow did not turn up to Planning Committee.

No, the Mayor is not aware that Redrow stated they will take the decision to appeal.

The Mayor is now aware that an appeal against the decision has been submitted by Redrow.

The questions about the actions of a partner is irrelevant as the Allerton Priory application does not form part of the Strategic Housing Delivery Programme (SHDP).

It has been submitted by a separate Redrow office and is outside the Partnership programme.

The Council remains committed to the SHDP and it will continue to work in partnership with its partners; Redrow and LMH, to deliver much needed housing in the City.

7, Question to the Mayor of Liverpool

By Councillor Richard Kemp, CBE

Question

ProjectEV and Rejuvenate Your Business Ltd

  1. Did the Council make any investment of council taxpayer’s money into either ProjectEV or Rejuvenate Your Business Ltd?
  2. Which councillor was made responsible for delivery of the project?
  3. Which officer was made responsible for the project?
  4. Was any background check done on Mr Qureshi, the Director of the Company?
  5. What outputs did the Council expect to get from supporting a £2.4 million grant to this operation?
  6. What outputs did it get from supporting this operation?
  7. When did the council realise that there was a problem with the operation?
  8. Of the £2.4 million grant which the Council acted as accountable body was all of it paid over?
  9. If not how much was paid?
  10. Does the council have any outstanding liability to the EU as a result of being the accountable body?
  11. What assistance did the council give to the operation in addition to being accountable body and recommending the grant?
  12. Did the council refer any businesses to the project?
  13. Did the Council in anyway publicly support or help market the project?
  14. From where has the Council found the £32,000 which it has directly lost in support for this venture?

Answer

In 2014 Liverpool City Council agreed to take on the role of accountable body for the

ERDF funded New Markets programme. This was a City Region wide programme established by the Liverpool LEP and involved a range of partner organisations chosen by the LEP in order to deliver support to high growth businesses. In total this was a £15million programme with £7.5million funded via ERDF and the remainder of the monies provided as match by the various applicants. The scheme was established in order to deliver business assists to high growth businesses. There was no Liverpool City Council match funding provided to the programme.

Project EV was one element of this wider programme. The decision to include Project EV within the wider programme was made by Liverpool LEP. The role of the Council was to ensure that applicants’ proposals and subsequent expenditure met with EU rules and requirements. The Programmes Team within the City Council’s Regeneration Directorate checked the proposals made by all partner bodies to ensure they met EU funding rules and checked all subsequent grant claims to ensure compliance with those rules. All other due diligence was the responsibility of Liverpool LEP.

The decision to accept accountable body status for the programme was made by theCity Council’s Cabinet on 28/02/2014 in a report of the Cabinet Member forRegeneration.

The final decision on the approval of the New Markets Programme and all of its constituent parts was made by the Department for Communities and Local Government as the ultimate grant giver. The Department for Communities and Local Government carried out their own due diligence and appraisal on the bid that was submitted including the proposals made by Project EV.

The role of Project EV was to deliver a high growth incubator for the City

Region. This project was intended to deliver 80 new jobs and was entitled to claim a maximum of £500,000 ERDF between October 2013 and December 2015.

The Council had no role in referring businesses to Project EV and did not provide any direct support to the project other than ensuring that any claims it submitted and any delivery undertaken met with EU grant rules. The responsibility for delivery of the project, including attracting businesses, lay with the staff and directors of Rejuvenate Your Business. The Council had no role, responsibility or remit regarding the wider business dealings of Rejuvenate Your Business. The Mayor’s and the Cabinet

Member’s public support was generic in nature and aimed at the concept of the project.

In total Project EV only claimed £32,902.64 ERDF before the Council suspended the scheme given our concerns about Rejuvenate Your Business’ ability to deliver the project successfully. This decision was made in June 2014. Subsequent to our suspension of grant payments, the business was placed into administration by its directors.

As a precautionary measure, the City Council lodged a claim against the business with the administrators for the sum of £32,902.64 in order to protect against any future clawback of ERDF grant. Grant claims made as part of the New Markets programme (including Project EV) will remain subject to audit and clawback until 2025.

In total the New Markets programme claimed £5.3m ERDF and supported the creation of 454 new jobs across the City region.

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About richardkemp

Leader of the Liberal Democrats in Liverpool. . Deputy Chair and Lib Dem Spokesperson on the LGA Community Wellbeing Board. Married to the lovely Cllr Erica Kemp CBE with three children and four grandchildren.
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