Issue - decisions
Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report of the Assistant Chief Executive, which sought the Cabinet’s approval to establish a Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone (EZ) Investment Fund. Government arrangements for EZs allowed for any business rates growth within the Zone to be re-invested to stimulate further development. Wirral Council would therefore be able to use this growth to access and fund borrowing to increase investment within the Zone in order to bring forward development more quickly and to promote further growth.
An Investment Plan had been produced which set out an integrated economic and financial impact model together with governance and management arrangements to underpin the operation of the Fund.
A due diligence process had been carried out on the Investment Plan and this was outlined in the report. If the Investment Plan was approved, individual project proposals would be brought back on a case by case basis.
Councillor Phil Davies welcomed the report and described the proposal for an EZ as a very imaginative mechanism for enabling more investment into Wirral Waters. Two projects had already been delivered, the Wirral Metropolitan College at Twelve Quays and the Tower Wharf Contact Company building with other projects planned. The Council now needed to attract more such investment and an EZ was a tried tested mechanism for achieving this.
RESOLVED: That -
(1) the creation and operation of the Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone Investment Fund, as detailed in the report, be approved.
(2) the investment potential for Phase 1 of £16m by 2020, funded by borrowing and repaid over the life of the Enterprise Zone from increased business rates income, be incorporated within the Capital Programme.
(3) the Council act as accountable body for the Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone Investment Fund.
(4) each proposal to draw down funding be subject to project specific business cases coming forward for approval that address any delivery and affordability constraints and brought back to Cabinet on a case by case basis.
(5) the operating principles as set out in paragraph 2.16 of the report, be agreed.
(6) the governance, management structure and processes as set out in paragraph 2.17 of the report, be agreed.
(7) an annual report on the performance of the scheme be prepared and presented to Members.
Councillor Phil Davies introduced a report by the Strategic Director - Regeneration and Environment sought approval to develop a Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone Investment Plan. The local plan would build on Government Enterprise Zone Policy to use uplift in business rates within the EZ as a catalyst for the longer-term regeneration proposals of Wirral Waters and other economic regeneration programmes in Wirral.
The Cabinet noted that the Investment Plan would develop a base financial model for growth, identify and assess key risks and propose a schedule of projects that required funding which would be provided through the uplift in business rates generated by the Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone. The Investment Plan would be presented to the Cabinet for approval and every subsequent project proposal would be considered on a case by case basis.
The Strategic Director explained the technicalities associated with his proposals informing that this followed on from the previous report. He reported that an important consideration was that the Council retained the business rate uplift and reinvested in the enterprise zone. The Strategic Director proposed that the Council utilised the business rate uplift and borrow to develop an Investment Plan. He asked the Cabinet to use the business rate supplement and develop a plan to accelerate further development.
Councillor Phil Davies informed the Cabinet that it was fantastic to see two schemes already underway in the Wirral Waters development. They would be the catalyst for others that would follow.
(1) the Cabinet agrees to the development of an investment framework for the reinvestment of business rate uplift within the Wirral Waters Enterprise Zone in order to support the delivery of the Councils Investment Strategy and long -term vision of Wirral Waters;
(2) the Cabinet will receive the copy of the investment framework and project business plans on a case by case basis;
(3) a formal sign off be given to the Enhanced Capital Allowances area of the Enterprise Zone; and
(4) an annual report on the performance of the scheme be presented to the Cabinet.