The Cabinet had before it a *report of the Head of Planning, Economy and Regeneration with regard to the ‘Reopening High Streets Safety Fund (RHSSF).
The Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration outlined the contents of the report statingthis Council had been awarded £73,686 from the fund. This would enable the authority to put in place urgent measures to support economic recovery in the towns, particularly in the high streets through a mix of advice/support and implementation of a range of measures.
Monday 15th June 2020 saw the permitted reopening of the High Streets with restrictions on non-essential retail being lifted. The fund was to respond to the immediate needs in 2020 with the Government is encouraging early spend. The fund was not intended for capital works and was focussed on:
Initial work had been undertaken to form an action plan and as this was a live document this would be updated over the coming months as risk assessments in the town centres were reviewed. This Action Plan was broken down into a three stage implementation process. A phased approach was considered appropriate given that the situation was ever changing. The first related to the immediate measures that were needed to be implemented prior to High Streets opening on the 15th June. The second phase covered the medium term actions (2-3 months) informed by ongoing dialogue with the Town Councils, business organisations/trader groups and DCC. The final phase would respond to any changes needed over the autumn which could arise from a number of issues including customer/trader perceptions and behaviour, changing Government guidance and crucially the extent of the virus at that time.
Section 4 of the report identified initial works undertaken in advance of the high streets openingincluding reconfigured pedestrian arrangements.
He informed the meeting that the proposals have been developed in liaison with local Ward Members, the Town Councils and the Local Resilience Forum. The business community had also been contacted through business fora and trader organisations to share information and advice via our webpages. A forum for discussion with the Town Mayors had also been established. This had led to greater collaborative working.
Consideration was given to:
· The work undertaken by the officers in the 3 main towns
· Additional items that could be put in place were suggested, for example hand sanitiser stations at bus stops and car park ticket machines
· The work of the forum with the town mayors and local businesses was deemed to be important and was fully supported
· The need to consider in the autumn the additional footfall of school students using the high streets
· How the plan dovetailed with the economic recovery plan and in particular the green recovery and the need for further communication to obtain local buy-in
· Signage in the market area of Tiverton
· An open invitation was extended to members to attend the town forum meetings
· Discussions were taking place with regard to offering free parking for a limited period
a) The report be noted.
b) The action plan to date be approved and delegated power be granted to the Group Manager for Growth Economy and Delivery and the Group Manager for Corporate Property and Commercial Assets in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Regeneration to continue to develop and review the action plan, to implement or fund measures within scope of the Government guidance in accordance with the action plan.
(Proposed by Cllr G Barnell and seconded by Cllr S J Clist)
Note: *Report previously circulated, copy attached to minutes.