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Economic initiative and regeneration (Mc2)

Cuts

Portfolio: Economy and Regeneration Portfolio

Futures Fund

This cut may not get implemented in full because there are proposals to include the service within the futures fund. Please visit the futures fund proposal to find out more. 

Description of Proposal:

Scenario 2:

No Economic Initiative and Regeneration Activity, no External Funding Team, no Business Engagement/Inward Investment and no Programme Regeneration Officers

Economy Team comprising business engagement, place promotion, inward investment and skills development.  Would result in no business support, engagement with Darlington companies, inward investment management or place promotion activities that have in the past seen inward investments such as CPI, Torrington site, and Argos.  No capacity for town centre business support, Christmas lights and Ingenious Darlington place branding.

External Funding team to be deleted. It has currently secured over £50m of external funding over the last 5 years into the Borough generating projects of value over £500m. Examples are Feethams leisure development, Central Park, Bank Top, Civic Theatre, highways and infrastructure, Business Central, Broad band, Affordable Housing Programme, Heritage Lottery Fund, Arts Council, and Sports England. The loss of the team would remove capacity for the Council to compete in bidding processes for external funding / resources through the Tees Valley LEP and Combined Authority, European Funding and other National Programmes such as HLF, Lottery RGF, GPF etc.

Development of Regeneration projects.  The core planning function would secure a policy development function and an operational Development Management function. In this scenario there would be no capacity to develop the next round of strategic projects that fuel economic delivery in the next three to five years. This would include Master Planning, Development Briefs, and Commissioning of Regeneration and Transport projects through the Council’s Capital Project processes. This would risk a slowdown in both housing and commercial schemes across the borough affecting development of a  wider Council tax base and reduced income for other departments through reduced fees and charges. The new housing target is to deliver @500 dwellings per year each equivalent to £760,000 additional Band D Council tax each year.  E.g. S278 for highway schemes, S106 contributions for community goods etc. 

Risks:

Economic momentum slowed, relying purely on reactive planning service, with ability to compete with neighbours for funding and mobile investment severely constrained.  Major impact on our ability to grow tax base, ie Business Rates and Council Tax.

Link to Mc2 - economic initiative and regeneration

 


 Keywords: voluntary sector VCS

Related FAQs

You have no money but you’re building a cinema, a car park and restoring the Civic Theatre.

You have no money but you’re building a cinema, a car park and restoring the Civic Theatre.

The cinema is a private development, being built on land which was jointly owned by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Council and was sold by them to get the cinema in the town centre. It is not funded by the Council. Money from the sale of the land will be used to fund riverside works to enhance the wider town centre area.

Funding for the Civic Theatre and the Hullaballoon children’s theatre is coming from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England sponsorship and a ticket levy. 

Why should we put down roots here or stay in Darlington?

Why should we put down roots here or stay in Darlington?

Because the Council will still be providing many good services and community groups and private businesses will continue to provide great facilities. These cuts only affect Council spending, they do not affect the aspirations of Darlington itself. A lot of private sector development and investment is coming into Darlington such as the new cinema complex and Central Park and, so long as people see a future in the town, it will continue to grow and thrive.

You blame Govt cuts but other towns/cities still have libraries and arts centres – is this a case of financial mismanagement?

You blame Govt cuts but other towns/cities still have libraries and arts centres – is this a case of financial mismanagement?

Darlington has always been regarded by our external auditors as good at financial management, this is not the reason we are facing such high levels of cuts. Other councils will also be announcing cuts over the coming months and years. The level of cuts required as a result of Government grant cuts vary depending on many factors, but generally deprived areas have been hit worse. Also, other councils have higher Council Taxes than Darlington so have more revenue from that source than us, so their cuts will be less.

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

What will be the impact on voluntary organisations such as Citizen’s Advice, Age UK, GADD? What happens if they close?

We fully support the work of our voluntary sector partners and hope to continue to work with them in the future. However, the financial situation is such that the Council is not able to continue funding these organisations at current levels. The likely impact of the budget proposals on these organisations is currently being identified, following discussions with the organisations most affected. We hope that they are able to continue their work by looking at where they can make further cost and efficiency savings, but we appreciate that in some cases this may not be possible and it will therefore mean a reduction in the support they can offer to the residents of Darlington.  It could lead to the closure of organisations if they are unable to make the necessary changes for them to be sustainable, which will be very regrettable. We want to avoid this happening and we will support organisations making grant applications where we can. We will also be undertaking work to understand the impact of any reductions in service on individuals accessing them. 

Your Say

1 comment(s)

This table lists comments from the public about this proposal

Comment

FF 52a (Economic Regeneration Team)
Cut Mc02 (Economic Initiative and Regeneration)
Core EffR19 (Senior Management costs)

This is a transcription of a comment made during the public meetings held during the budget consultation:

Q: There is a lot of wasted capital expenditure. The multi-storey car park cost £7.2m and went over budget as did the pedestrian heart. Small businesses came out and said they did want it. If someone comes round the town with me I will show them all the empty shops, you haven’t improved business. How is spending money moving the library to the Dolphin Centre going to save money? £120,000 to maintain South Park – who are you getting to cut the grass Wayne Rooney? One off payment of £50,000 for wild flowers – come on! You must really think we are stupid. I am going to have find an extra £70 for my council tax and looking at the debt it costs £3.1m to service that debt but you’ll spend £7.2m on a car park we don’t even need. If the government cuts the funding again I am going to have to find more money to pay my council tax, I won’t be able to afford to live in my house. Bill – how much are you on? Nothing will change, all this is lip service and these cuts are a smoke screen because you have been totally inadequate. And Children’s Services is an absolute disgrace. The reason Red Quadrant had to come in was because the Government were that worried by the Ofsted report because it has failed since 2012 and there’s been no improvement. I’m going to run for councillor in 2020 and I won’t take a salary.

A: Coun Dixon – I get £30,000 and a couple of 100. It’s less than where I used to work before I took this job on. I took a pay cut to do this job because I like it and it’s a worthwhile job.

Coun McEwan – the car park. The fact is we have a private sector developer that has invested £30m to a cinema/leisure complex to create 500 jobs. We promised money, funded from car parking revenue to service that facility and I tell you what I’ll vote for it every time. What that development will do, alongside creating jobs, will increase the footfall of our town centre. To say our town centre is dead on its feet is dead wrong. All town centres are facing challenges, to have the private sector put their money where their mouth is to create jobs and increasing footfall which is what our traders want to see, is not a bad thing.

Coun Wallis – in regard to senior manager costs – in 2011/2105 £2m taken out of senior management costs and in this budget at least £300,000. When there are cuts to be made everyone looks to managers but not everyone in a local authority can be frontline staff. You need people to manage and reconfigure services to ensure best value is delivered and procedures are in place for example in child and adult protection. We need people in those very complicated jobs as well as those in front line jobs. One of the comments Ofsted actually made about children’s services was we had taken too much out of senior managers. Senior managers here earn about the going rate when you look at other local authorities in the area. You need that when you are running a mufti million pound authority when lives and services are at stake on a day to day basis.