Councillor J. Kent reminded Members that the report was part-exempt and asked Members not to stray into discussing the exempt information as the press and public would need to be excluded.
Councillor Speight, Cabinet Member for Regeneration, introduced the report which set out the detail of the regeneration of Purfleet, the largest regeneration programme the Council was directly responsible for delivering, which included 2,300 new homes and a state-of-the-art film, television and media studio complex around a new town centre featuring a primary school, health centre and local shops, leisure and community facilities.
The Leader invited Councillor B. Little to read the question that he had submitted and the following response was received:
· Councillor B. Little asked the Portfolio Holder how many new, permanent jobs would be created by this project and how much local sourcing was planned.
In response the Cabinet Members explained that job creation and local Supply Chains were two areas specifically considered in the Competitive Dialogue process which saw the Council selecting PCRL as its development partner.
Regarding the number of jobs created, the Cabinet Member explained that whilst a definitive answer could not be given at this point, it was anticipated that the film, television and media studios would provide the largest single number of jobs – estimated at around 1,000 permanent posts. It was expected that this number would be significantly increased as individual films and television programmes come forward. Outside of the film and television studios, several hundred new jobs would be created through the services and facilities also being constructed as part of the project including the new school, health centre, shops and cafes/restaurants in addition to more than 1,300 construction jobs created over the lifetime of the project.
The Cabinet Member further reported that on local sourcing/supply chains, PCRL had committed to working with the Council and maximising the opportunities for local firms and have their own experience of running ‘meet the buyer’ events to build supply chains.
As a supplemental question, Councillor B. Little asked the Portfolio Holder to clarify whether checks and balances would be in place to lock in local sourcing targets and jobs into contracts with appropriate review periods to ensure that the Council got what was agreed in the contract upon delivery.
The Cabinet Member explained that the Council constantly pushed for more than what was offered and through genuine partnership and co-working believed that targets would be locked in and substantively delivered throughout the lifetime of the project.
Councillor Gerrish welcomed the report and remarked that Thurrock should be proud to achieve a nationally significant cultural hub and its plans for a properly planned community to an area.
Councillor Holloway echoed the sentiments regarding the exciting project and commended the work of the late Councillor Andy Smith, who held the Portfolio previously and had laid the initial groundwork for the Purfleet Centre scheme.
Councillor B. Rice questioned whether the much needed school and health infrastructure would be prioritised first, to which the Cabinet Member assured those present that infrastructure was a key priority and was expected by residents. He emphasised that it was important to get this development right and was strongly committed to consultation and community participation.
Councillor J. Kent informed Members that a panel, which had included opposition members and PCRL representation, had already met to examine bidders for the new Primary School, and that the construction of educational facilities was a priority and too often was overlooked in the first phases of construction in the past.
Members commended the work of Matthew Essex, Head of Regeneration, for all this hard work in getting the project to this point.
1. That Cabinet notes the progress made since the selection of PCRL as the Council’s development partner for the Purfleet Centre scheme;
2. That Cabinet approves the commercial terms outlined in Appendix 2 as the basis for the contractual agreements between the Council, PCRL and L&Q and authorises the completion of those agreements; and
3. That Cabinet delegate authority to the Assistant Chief Executive, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Regeneration, to conclude any remaining discussions necessary to complete those agreements on the Council’s behalf provided that they are on substantially the same terms as those contained within this report.
Reason for Decision - as stated in the report
This decision is subject to call-in