The Chair invited Members to raise items for general discussion arising from the Information Booklet of Executive Member reports, previously circulated, which detailed activities carried out within the respective Executive Member portfolios (Section 1), Executive decisions taken (Section 2), or to be taken where known, prior to and following the meeting (Sections 3 and 4).
Members commented and posed questions in relation to the following matters and Executive Members responded where appropriate.
a) Acklam Green
A Member welcomed the fact that Gleesons had bought the Acklam Green site from Bellways. He stated that he hoped that the regeneration and environment teams and Gleesons would work together to maintain the land in the proper manner.
b) Train Station Masterplan
A Member stated that he was happy to see that the Council were taking the lead in partnership with Network Rail in respect of the Train Station Masterplan. The Member commented that he would like to thank everyone involved including the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, the Chief Executive and Council staff.
The Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Regeneration advised that it was anticipated that the Masterplan would be completed by 2017 and the Council would need to identify funding to bring the station back into full use.
c) Teesside Advanced Manufacturing Park (TAMP)
A Member commented that there were 1500 more companies based across the Tees Valley Area and she queried how many of those companies were based in Middlesbrough as a result of new development in the TAMP and Middlehaven and what it meant for the economy of Middlesbrough.
The Deputy Mayor and Executive Member for Regeneration advised that he had asked for further detail with regard to this issue and would provide the Member with the information. He advised that the number of businesses operating in Middlesbrough had grown by 538 (14.3%). He advised that TAMP had partnered with Middlesbrough College to deliver certifiable welder training at the college. The TWI were winning more work regionally including commercial work. A bid had been made to the Government for a manufacturing centre with the hope that it would be based in Middlesbrough.
A deal between Teesside University and James Cook University Hospital (JCUH) was close to being finalised to form a research partnership to work on medical devices which could assist in retaining key hospital staff.
TWI were involved with the MPI and the LEP with the support of Council officers to grow and retain steel research in the region.
d) Summer Reading Challenge
A Member queried how many people had attended the Summer Reading Challenge. The Executive Member for Communities and Public Health advised that the Summer Reading Challenge involved children aged between 4 and 11 being challenged to read six library books during the six week school holidays. A total of 867 children had signed up to the challenge and 52% had completed it compared to 44% for the previous year. The Executive Member acknowledged the work that officers did in assisting with the Reading Challenge.
e) Green Waste
A Member stated that he wished to congratulate the Executive Member for Environment in respect of the decision to extend the date for collection of green waste, but the Council's website would need to be amended to reflect the change.
f) Flowers in Town Centre/Centre Square
A Member stated that he wished to congratulate the Executive Member for Environment and the officers concerned for the floral displays in the Town Centre and Centre Square as they had brightened the town up.
g) Reintroduction of Cylinder Mowers
A Member stated that he would like to congratulate the Executive Member for Environment and the officers concerned on the decision to reintroduce cylinder mowers for maintenance of small areas of grass.
h) Fly Tipping
A Member stated that he would like to congratulate the Executive Member for Environment on the new signage to tackle issues such as dog fouling and fly tipping. He also commented on the excellent initiative of Ward Walkabouts to discuss hotspots within Wards and he stated that he wished to congratulate the Executive Member, the Council staff and the area care staff for their work and commitment to the area.
i) Middlesbrough Schools Catering Service
A Member commented on the Gold Food4Health Award achieved by Middlesbrough Schools Catering Service. The Catering Manager had advised that the children received food containing no saturated fat and that most of the fresh food was sourced from the town. Only a small number of children now had packed lunches. The Member wished to congratulate the Schools Catering Service on their achievement.
j) Hardwick House
A Member commented on Hardwick House, the new supported housing project for veterans which was to be based in central Middlesbrough and he stated that he wished to thank the officers concerned in helping to get the project off the ground.