To track progress against the recommendations of the Housing & Regeneration Scrutiny Panel review report on Wards Corner that was originally published in October 2019.
The Chair noted that the report provided updates on the four recommendations from the previous Scrutiny Review on Wards Corner that had been accepted or partially accepted by the Cabinet.
Cllr Adje suggested that the August 2021 updates in the report should be noted by the Panel but no further action was required on the recommendations as they no longer applied. He also noted that there was a minor error on page 40 of the agenda pack with a reference to ‘October 2021’ which was intended to read ‘October 2020’. However, the points heard from the deputations could be taken forward for further consideration. Cllr Ibrahim observed that some of the recommendations had been overridden by recent developments, including references to Grainger and market facilitators which did not apply to the current circumstances. She suggested that the Panel should consider carrying out a short update Scrutiny Review into Wards Corner in light of recent developments.
Cllr Tucker welcomed the opportunity for the Panel to look further into these issues but expressed concerns about the time parameters as TfL would be looking to move forward quickly to reach a consensus on the future of the market. Cllr Barnes observed that recommendations and actions could potentially be made quite quickly on communications issues and the relationship with market traders.
Cllr Ibrahim expressed concerns about making recommendations at the meeting without the opportunity to discuss and consider the issues in more detail. This could potentially be done properly over the course of a series of meetings held over a period of a couple of weeks. Cllr Hare suggested that recommendations could be made on some broad-brush aims and require that a report is received on the basis of this from the Cabinet Member. Cllr Ibrahim took the view that scrutiny recommendations should be specific and that this could not be achieved at the current meeting.
Cllr Ruth Gordon, Cabinet Member for House Building, Place-Making and Development, said that the Council’s position was to support the Trust and the Community Plan which already had planning permission. Joint statements had been issued with TfL and the Council was making sure that the Community Plan was being driven forward. She said that it was an extraordinarily exciting project and the Council’s aims were fully in line with the Community Plan. There were clearly divisions within the community in the market and so the Council should be aiming to heal those divisions. There had also been divisions between the traders and Grainger over the past 15 years and now there was an opportunity to move forward.
The Panel then proposed to take forward the issues raised on Wards Corner via a short Scrutiny Review. Ayshe Simsek, Democratic Services & Scrutiny Manager reminded the Panel of the existing pressures on the Work Programme and the need to seek approval for this change to the Work Programme from the Overview & Scrutiny Committee.
RESOLVED – That the Panel note the updates to the progress of the recommendations.
RESOLVED – That the Panel add a Scrutiny Review on Wards Corner to the Work Programme. This Review would be held via special meetings in a short time-limited way given the existing pressures on the Work Programme.