Agenda item

The Council is asked to note any statements made by Members of the Cabinet (Portfolio Holders).

Councillors may then ask questions of the Portfolio Holders on their statements.



Demolition of Carnarvon House, Carnarvon Road, Clacton-on-Sea


The Corporate Finance & Governance Portfolio Holder (Councillor G V Guglielmi) made the following statement:-


“I am delighted to announce that thanks to some sterling work by Officers, £420,001 has been awarded to the Council from the Brownfield Land Release Fund to demolish Carnarvon House so that it can be prepared for future re-development.


The office building in Carnarvon Road has been owned by TDC and in recent years was leased to the NHS as office space until it was no longer needed.


It has been empty since July 2021 when the NHS vacated it and it was used as a temporary location base for filming the movie “Morris Men”, shot in and around Tendring, which was screened here in the Theatre in the October half term for its premiere.


Carnarvon House has served the public well for a number of decades but the building is of its time and I don’t think many people will be sad to see it go; sadly it is not a structure that can be made energy efficient, nor can be adapted to any sustainable use, and with this grant funding we will be able to create an important space in the town centre, which will make a huge difference to the town.


Being able to pay for this work from Government funding, and not local taxpayer contributions, is a huge help to the Council – while demolition also removes ongoing costs we face with owning an empty building.


In the short term Carnarvon House will be demolished, with some internal work, such as asbestos removal and soft furnishing before the building comes down in the New Year. In the longer term, the site is proposed for development as a flexible use community space and housing. Hopefully, the Planning Committee will look at this favourably when the planning application is passed to them.”


Action on Climate Change Update


The Environment and Public Space Portfolio Holder (Councillor Talbot) made the following statement:-


“Following my report to the last Council meeting on the 12th of July,19 weeks ago, Members asked me to contact ECC, as the highway authority, to enquire about their plans for EV charging points in the roads within Tendring. I will not report the detail but suffice to say the County Council Portfolio Holder Councillor Lee Scott, was most supportive of my request, recognising our special situation as a coastal authority, needing facilities for holiday visitors. He offered to set up a meeting using MS Teams with both of us as Councillors being accompanied by our Officers. With annual holidays intervening a meeting was eventually set up by Essex County Council for Councillor Scott on EV charging on the 7th of September.  I was accompanied by Councillor Alex Porter and by Ian Taylor.  County Councillor Lee Scott attended from the County Council but was on his own with no officers to support him. Councillor Porter spoke about the need to address problems in our Town Centre where EV charge points could encourage increased business in the centre, and Ian Taylor referred to modest progress with our off-street provision, but the need was in our roads, where nothing was happening at this moment in time. Councillor Scott then left the meeting saying he would ask his officers to prepare a meeting with his responsible officers and Members and with representatives of a Private Company, and this I happily accepted. Unfortunately, this is over two months ago and to date I have heard nothing back.


It is of note that the Monday following our meeting, Essex County Council set up an officer meeting to discuss EV Strategy in Essex – a coincidence, or saying it “with tongue in cheek,” perhaps on the 7th when we met, they had no policy? Only yesterday after I had written this report Lee Heley telephoned me to say that he had just received an invitation from ECC to attend a meeting on 14 December 2022 to present their draft strategy.


The Government have said it will provide £450m of funding to local authorities for the rollout of new electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure for 300,000 electric vehicle (EV) chargers by 2030.


£500 million will be invested to bring public charge points to communities across the UK with a Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) fund of £450 million for projects such as EV hubs and on-street charging solutions. In March, the Government invited LA’s to bid for £10 million in funding for options such as the On-Street Residential Charge point Scheme (ORCS), but this of course is a matter in the hands of ECC as our Highways Authority.


All the above colleagues is outside of our control, but my report to Members is supposed to be about what Climate Change activity is taking place in Tendring. To this end I have received the following reports:


Ian Taylor informs me that we will see eight electric vehicle charging points installed in the Starlings car park and events space which will be complete early next year.


The Council has also met with UK Power Networks regarding costs for installation of EV points in our TDC car parks.


Officers are currently gathering data from EV charge point operators for options for the Council to provide a range of slow (7kw) and medium (22kw) EV points across selected car parks in Tendring.


Options for delivery will include Charge Point Operators delivering EV points where they fund installation and benefit from charging income, or the Council delivering EV points with 60% grant funding, and so benefiting from charging income - or a mix of both. We expect a full report on this early in the new year.


One item of special interest to me arises from a query I raised with Morrisons supermarkets Head Office in Bradford, about the 20 charging bays they have installed in the new Centenary Way super store. They kindly supplied me with all the information I asked for, but of special interest were two of the bays that have 300kW chargers which can deliver an 80% charge in as little as eight minutes, for cars capable of refuelling at this capacity. I just wonder if this points the way forward.


In terms of our overall use of electricity, Richard Barrett says that the Council continues to take the opportunity at each new procurement milestone, to ensure the electricity used across our various sites is delivered from carbon neutral sources.


I have reported before that we are keen to develop the use of Solar Panels on our TDC properties. Tim R. Clarke informs me that the Building Research Establishment (BRE) has been commissioned to undertake work to develop business cases for the installation of solar panels on our estate. Tim says the work is progressing well and we have supplied BRE with electricity usage data and other information, in respect of the sites we have asked them to advise us on, that will enable our Officers to develop options on the way forward. The BRE will also provide us with their view on what we could do to install solar Photo Voltaic panels on our council homes, and we expect a draft report early in December, to be part of our policy considerations in the New Year.


The Council has purchased £102,000 worth of trees to be planted at Burrsville Park, Great Clacton, Jaywick and Parkeston. Ian Taylor, wearing his Open Spaces hat, says these are 8ft high of mixed varieties and that we have received further funding to maintain the trees for the next three years. This funding has come from the Government’s Urban Tree Challenge Fund, via the Essex County Council’s Essex Tree Initiative bid. Tendring have been awarded 45 percent of the whole successful ECC bid amounting of over £300,000.


The Council is also waiting for final confirmation of a bid for tree planting and green projects at The Cliff, Dovercourt from the Government’s Levelling Up Fund – this is in the region of £87,000.


It is of note that ECC’s target of planting 375,000 trees across Essex by 2025 is well on the way with 143,059 trees planted so far. Surely a ‘Star’ on the back of their hand for the County Council.


Energy Efficiency surveys of the General Fund building stock have been completed and the process for prioritising, funding, and resourcing the various projects is under way. Andy White tells me that £60,000 from the TDC Climate Action Fund, has been agreed to support additional building surveyor resource within the team, to help deliver projects including energy saving building work. These will ultimately save money and carbon emissions.


I thank Lee Heley for contacting the responsible officers on my behalf, so that I can, in turn, inform all Members of what is being done in their name. Thank you.”


Councillor Talbot then responded to questions raised on his statement by Councillors I J Henderson and Scott.