Agenda and minutes

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Contact: Wendy Binmore  01628 796251

Items
No. Item

45.

Apologies for Absence

To receive apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllrs Malcolm Alexander, John Bowden and Samantha Rayner.

46.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 219 KB

To receive any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

None.

47.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To confirm the Part I minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED UNANIMOUSLY: That the Part I minutes from the meeting held on 13 February 2017 be approved.

48.

Security Measures

Minutes:

David Scott, Head of Communities and Highways explained that following the Westminster attack in March 2017, security arrangements had been reviewed and temporary barriers had been installed. Although they were not particularly attractive, they were very functional. Thames Valley Police (TVP) and the Metropolitan Police reviewed previous security risk assessments for all involved in the well known times of Changing of the Guard to protect residents, visitors, security and military personnel. Any vehicle had to be considered as a weapon and he assured the Forum that the barriers were temporary measures and work was beginning on improving the street scene with integrated street scene measures to reduce risk of incidents of attack by vehicle. The Head of Communities and Highways added that there was also an uplift in numbers of police and security personnel deployed to manage the guard change.

 

TVP had led the process and appointed a specialist, following a procurement exercise and they had been on site and carried out a survey of the six current locations the temporary barriers had been installed plus an additional number of locations to be included in the permanent integrated security arrangements. The specialists are developing proposals which the council and TVP would review and then select the most appropriate measures at the different locations. The measures would seek to preserve the local heritage at sensitive sites and it would involve a number of different treatments.

 

The Head of Communities and Highways stated the proposals would go through the planning process and the expectation was that some proposals would be submitted in late summer 2017. The council was working closely with TVP and both the council and TVP together would make sure the final plans considered residents, visitors, businesses, the heritage and the conservation areas.

 

The Head of Communities and Highways explained that it had not been not possible to install just one barrier in Thames Street and two had been installed instead.. A consultation with local groups such as the Windsor and Eton Society would also take place.

 

The Head of Communities and Highways confirmed that as part of the planning process, when the planning application was submitted, residents and local community groups would be consulted and would be invited to make comments on the applications. A member of the West Windsor Residents Association (WWRA) requested confirmation that advice had been given to businesses and shops regarding what they needed to do in case of a major incident. Paul Roach, Windsor Town Manager confirmed that all commercial businesses along the Changing of the Guard route had been advised that with the barriers being installed, unloading and loading could not take place between the guards changed at 10.30am and 11.30am as a new security measure.  He added that Project Griffin Workshops were scheduled where over 100 employees from local businesses attended and this training was focused on anti-terror measures and what to do in the event of a terrorist incident. A further workshop was scheduled for October with another 40 businesses signed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

49.

2016 Visitor Survey

Minutes:

This item was deferred to the following Windsor Town Forum meeting.

50.

Local Economy

Minutes:

Paul Roach, Town Manager stated he did a health check on the Town Centre by assessing car park usage, foot fall and shop unit vacancy. He added there were footfall counter at both shopping centres and Peascod Street in Town. The shopping centre counters were being renewed so there was no picture on the movement figures from these currently, the counter in Peascod Street had been installed three years ago and the figures showed that from January 2016 to January 2017, footfall was up 1.3% in Town and that had increased a lot over the last two months; this was possibly due to the better weather.

 

The Town Centre Manager stated there had been approximately 8 million people in Peascod Street in 2016 and the footfall was on target to be increased by 2% for 2017. The average visitor numbers were 66k every week up to 175k in a week depending on what activities were taking place. The two shopping centres were expected to be slightly higher than that and most Councillors received the figures at least every quarter.

                                

Car park monitoring and the coach park from April 2017 was up 75% in April 2017, possibly due to Easter being earlier; and 5% down in May 2017. The June figures were not expected to be available until the week commencing 10 Jul7 2017 but, although he was expecting them to show an increase. It had been a positive start to the year.

 

Vacancy rates showed that Windsor always tended to punch above its weight and the last six months, the rate had steadily increased in vacant units. Equally, there had been a lot of new units that had opened up. The vacancy rate where there was no owner, no tenant and was closed was 5.3%. However, the national average for unit vacancy was 12% so Windsor was well below. However, since October 2016, the current rate of vacancies in Windsor had almost doubled.

 

There were approximately 370 units in the Town Centre which were monitored and retail was shrinking and becoming difficult for retailers. That was not just down to internet sales but, sales from mobile phones were up by 20%.

 

There had been eight units which had closed which included coffee shops, shoe shops, fabric shops and a pub. But, there were more shops that opened in the same period, of which, one was a nail bar. There had always been a lot of change in the shops so would have been a concern if a shop opened one month but closed again the next. There had been long term vacancies such as the Chicago’s site but that was reopening as a soft play centre for children. The Windsor, Eton & Ascot Town Partnership Board (WEATPB) looked at schemes and supported the council retail rates scheme, also.

 

Both shopping centres had two marketing agencies to develop events with the council and WEATPB and there was now a list of events and they were reviewing markets to improve or add to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.

51.

Arts Centre, st leaonards road

Minutes:

Mark Taylor, Deputy Head of Library & Resident Services, Communities Directorate explained that the current provider at the arts centre had been there for eight years and the council was looking at an opportunity for ensuring residents were getting best value for the investment for the building and the venue for the delivery of arts and also in terms of the annual sum paid to the provider.

 

A tender process had been agreed and a number of interested parties had come forward to submit a bid. Two potential providers were shortlisted and face to face meetings were held with them to find out what they proposed for the building and the arts programme. A contract was offered to Martin Denny Management Ltd who would be taking over the arts Centre in October 2017.

 

Martin Denny addressed the Forum and stated his company were in a position to need to rename the arts centre when they took over on 1 October 2017. Martin Denny Management had been operating for approximately 17 years and had operated Windsor Festival since 2001 in conjunction with many other partners. His company had worked on the bandstand opening and organised the first concert to play there. He added it was very exciting for Martin Denny Management Ltd to be taking on the arts centre in St Leonards Road.

 

The tender was for two and a half years which gave him a chance to see what they could do in that time; after which time the tender process would begin again. The current leaseholder was moving on in September 2017 and would be taking the name Firestation with them. Martin Denny Management Ltd would then move in and begin talks with those who wanted to continue to work and operate at the arts centre, in view of making it a smooth transition.

 

There was some maintenance of the building which needed to be carried out which the Borough was looking into and that work would be scheduled in with the least disruption possible. The intention was to honour the commitment to those currently using the building but it could mean that a full programme might not run straight away until things were settled.

 

The aim was to emphasise the importance of having an arts centre in Windsor to serve residents that would be used as much as possible and to offer a range of activities and groups moving forward. Things took time in scheduling and organising but the bar and café was seen as part of the aim of delivering activities. Martin Denny Management Ltd would be asking people for ideas of what they would like to see and it was a chance to develop the venue and what went on inside it. Martin Denny was not looking to translate Windsor Festival into the venue as they were a completely separate entity.

 

Martin Denny confirmed that it was unlikely he would be remodelling the inside of the venue but, with the Borough responsible for the maintenance of the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

York House Update

Minutes:

Rob Large, Property Service Lead gave a brief update on what had been happening at York House since the planning permission had been granted. He explained that York House was now empty and all staff had been relocated. Contractors were carrying out intrusive investigations and construction was expected to start in approximately two to four weeks time. The works would take around 12 – 14 months to complete. York House would be a three storey building with no increase in parking provision and would be a grade A office building. The ground floor would host the new and improved customer services offering.

 

Mark Taylor, Deputy Head of Library & Resident Services, Communities Directorate stated the Council had merged the customer services centre and Windsor Library into one building which was one of three service hubs in the Borough. The Windsor Hub delivered the same services previously obtained at York House and the merge took place on 1 June 2017.

 

There was an extensive range of services at Windsor Library and was not only housing back office functions but, customer facing services. Revenue and Benefits were now operating out of the library and there was a partnership in place between the council and the Citizens Advice Bureau which was available at the Hub once per week. The hubs had extended opening hours during the week till 7pm and were also open at weekends. The Deputy Head of Library & Resident Services, Communities Directorate added the Customer Services Centre telephone service had also extended their hours of operation to match those of the Hub,

 

The Property Service Lead confirmed that Thames Valley Police (TVP) had decided against signing contracts which would have meant they shared the site at York House. It was a mutual decision which was jointly announced due to the possible difficulties in obtaining planning permission for the TVP building. The police had advised they would be looking for an alternative site in Windsor.

 

Richard Thomas, Regent Court Residents Association said the residents association had attended various meetings and there had been two different planning applications for the site, he wanted to know which application would be going ahead. The Property Service Lead confirmed that the later application submitted in March 2017 had been withdrawn as the deal with TVP was no longer going ahead. The council would not be submitting any further planning applications for additional buildings on that site.

 

Gary Williams, local resident stated that he had been having difficulties reaching the duty officer out of hours and that he had found the telephone service very frustrating. He added there was a time limit for calls which meant that before you get through to the right person, the phone cut out and dropped the calls. The Deputy Head of Library & Resident Services, Communities Directorate requested the specifics on the case had said he would look into the issue personally. He added that the out of hours number was the same and had not changed. There was a duty officer on  ...  view the full minutes text for item 52.

53.

Any Other Business

Minutes:

the Chairman requested Windsor 2030 contribute to the following meeting and add something to the next agenda on what they did and their contribution to the Local Plan.

 

v  Action: The Chairman to write to Windsor 2030 to request their attendance at the next meeting of the Windsor Town Forum and for them to submit a presentation to be included on the agenda giving a brief summary of who they were, what they did and their contribution to the Neighbourhood Plan.

 

Brian Rayner said he was having difficulty in using the Slough tip as a Royal Borough resident. The Chairman said that his colleagues in Waste would write to him to outline and confirm the official policy.

 

v  Action: The waste team to write to Mr Rayner detailing the official policy of using the Chalvey Tip in Slough as a Royal Borough resident.

 

The Royal Windsor Summer Show was a community event and would be taking place on 15 July 2017 at St George’s School.

 

Windsor 2030 would confirm the date of their next meeting at the end of July 2017.

 

An emailing detailing the changes to the traffic lights at the Crosses Corner junction in the Town Centre was handed out and the Head of Communities and Highways confirmed there was money in the Capital Budget to amend the sequencing of the lights. It was a phasing issue and it would be rectified this year.