To consider the report and make any appropriate recommendations to Cabinet.
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The Assistant Director and Peter Sharp from Mott McDonald presented the business case for the Riverfront Town Deal Business Case. A copy of the presentation is attached.
The Chair thanked officers for their report and invited questions and comments from the Panel, as summarised below.
Councillor Crofts referred to the money that was to be spent to provide facilities for the Pontoons, but that there was no money for coach parking and facilities for coaches, which would encourage bus trips into the town. The Assistant Director agreed that it was important to provide facilities for coach parties, but queried if the waterfront was the right location for this.
Councillor de Whalley asked for information on the operation of the observation tower and if the privacy of the residential area had been considered. He also referred to exhibition vessels and that this would drive tourism to the area. The Assistant Director explained that separate options for the Purfleet would be considered in the future, separate to the Town Deal Project. He explained that the design of the observation tower would be looked at as the next part of the project and would be subject to planning permission.
The Chair commented that an exhibition vessel would be a great draw for tourism. The Assistant Director explained that it would be very expensive to bring this into the Purfleet and then ongoing maintenance costs would have to be considered. He explained that options for the Purfleet would be looked at as part of a separate project.
Councillor Morley commended the project and felt that it was desperately needed in the town. He referred to tourism and that car parking should be looked.
The Assistant Director explained that detailed design work would be the next stage and the Regeneration and Development Panel would have opportunities to become involved in the design work. Councillor Jones suggested the use of live webcams and binoculars at the proposed tower.
The Vice Chair, Councillor Gidney made reference to the Customs House and the Assistant Director explained that proposals for a lift were being looked at. Historic England had been consulted on this and were keen to see more Listed Buildings become more accessible.
The Vice Chair also raised concerns relating to flooding and cellars underneath the Quay. He commented that facilities for the Pontoons were important and agreed with comments made that an exhibition vessel in the Purfleet would draw in tourists. The Assistant Director explained that flood issues would be considered, and planting and greenery would need to be positioned so that it did not interfere with cellars or cause a hazard in the flood risk area. He also referred to traffic along the Quay and explained that if the area was to be closed to traffic it could cause an impact on the traffic flow throughout the rest of the town centre, therefore if the road was temporarily closed for events, then the impact on traffic could be monitored and options considered in the future.
The Chair commented that she was pleased to see green spaces included in the project and that events needed to be mindful of noise in the residential area.
RESOLVED: That Cabinets attention be drawn to the comments made by the Panel, as set out above and the Cabinet be informed that the Regeneration and Development Panel support the recommendations to Cabinet as set out below.
Cabinet is recommended to: