Members heard from the Assistant Director of Planning and Regeneration regarding the development of a Cultural Strategy for West Lindsey. It was explained that in early 2020 the Council received a recommendation as part of the Corporate Review which recommended that the council consider the development of a Cultural Strategy. Officers had reviewed the current position and suggested five work streams in order to develop a cohesive approach and cultural offer. Whilst it was recognised that this was not yet a Cultural Strategy by definition, these were the building blocks required to move towards an improved cultural offer.
The five proposed work streams were:
· Strategic Relationships
· National Portfolio Organisation Status
· Trinity Arts Centre Investment
· Role of culture in placemaking
Members had previously agreed to support work on the development of a Cultural Strategy by earmarking £250,000 to reserve fund and the paper set out a recommendation for spend against an element of the budget allocation. It was highlighted that the Peer Challenge in early 2020 had suggested the development of a Cultural Strategy and, as work on this had been undertaken, several areas of cultural activity had been identified across the district. This included the Trinity Arts Centre in Gainsborough, markets in Gainsborough, Market Rasen and Caistor, and local events.
The Committee heard how each of the work streams would be developed and future reporting would detail the progress towards one Cultural Strategy.
Members were keen to understand the definition of ‘culture’ in the context of the strategy and how existing work underway, for example the Markets Consultation and at the Trinity Arts Centre, would feed into the strategy. The definition from the Local Government Association was read aloud and Members were assured that existing work streams would continue to support the development of the strategy as opposed to being seen as standalone items. It was also highlighted that working in partnership with strategic oversight would increase the likelihood of securing larger and long-term funds from organisations such as the Arts Council.
Note: Councillor S. England left the Chamber at 7.43pm and returned at 7.45pm
It was acknowledged that there was further work required to maximise the potential of the town markets, however, it was highlighted that consultation was currently underway and future proposals would be presented in due course. In response to an enquiry regarding the costs of the proposed Officer role, it was explained there would be a significant remit across all work streams however there would be clearly measurable progress points in order to ensure attainable targets across the strategy.
With no further comments, the recommendations within the report were proposed and seconded and it was
a) the five work streams set out at 3.1 and the associated action plan (appendix 1) noting the suggested reporting lines for each action, be approved; and
b) it be recommended to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee that approval to spend from the Cultural Strategy Reserve be given for new fixed term officer capacity £85,000 and support of up to £25,000 to develop the approach to securing National Portfolio Organisation status; and
c) the submission of a bid for £5m of funding be supported and recommended to the Corporate Policy and Resources Committee and that £62,000 of the Cultural Strategy Reserve be used to develop the bid to secure funds from the National Lottery Heritage Fund for capital investment, activities and events works at Trinity Arts Centre up to £5,000,000.