Agenda and minutes

Business, Economy and Enterprise Scrutiny Board (3) - Wednesday, 11th January, 2023 10.00 am

Venue: Diamond Rooms 1 and 2 - Council House. View directions

Contact: Michelle Salmon, Governance Services,  Email:

No. Item


Declarations of Interest


There were no disclosable pecuniary interests.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 305 KB

(a)  To agree the Minutes of the meeting held on 30th November 2022


(b)  Matters arising


The minutes of the meeting held on 30th November 2022 were agreed and signed as a true record.


Tourism Strategy and Destination Coventry - Progress Report pdf icon PDF 243 KB

Briefing Note of the Director of Business, Investment and Culture


The Business, Economy and Enterprise Scrutiny Board (3) received a briefing note and presentation setting out the progress on the Tourism Strategy and Destination Coventry.


The Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change introduced the item, highlighting that work on the Strategy and Destination Coventry had commenced prior to the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, but that good progress had been made through difficult conditions.  There had been a move away from the Local Authority being responsible for promoting the city to a collaborative approach between the Council and Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, to deliver a new, pilot Destination Management Organisation (DMO).


The Board noted that the DMO was formally established in August 2021 as a public / private collaboration, to deliver a proof of concept model to establish that Destination Coventry would:


·  Lead in the management, development and promotion of Coventry’s leisure and business tourism

·  Continue to operate the Coventry and Warwickshire Convention Bureau

·  Assume responsibility for the provision of visitor information in the city

·  Provide opportunities for the private sector to engage in a regular tourism dialogue

·  Co-ordinate the delivery of the 2019-2023 Tourism Strategy, with stakeholders contributing to Strategy reviews and future iterations

·  Not rely solely on Council funding, but will enable the private sector to contribute financially to the DMO’s destination marketing activities, with the aim of amplifying growth of the city’s visitor economy, and

·  Deliver activities to include the development of income streams to ensure sustained financial viability.


The management and operations of Destination Coventry were overseen by an Oversight Board, chaired by the Commercial Director of Coventry Building Society Arena.  The Board further included representatives from the Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, Coventry BID, Coventry City of Culture Trust, Coventry City Council, Visit Britain and representatives of several tourism, leisure and hospitality sector businesses.


In December 2021, Destination Coventry launched its membership scheme which included categories of Full Membership; Patron Membership; Food, Drink and Nightlife Membership; Supplier Membership; Joint Destination Coventry / Chamber of Commerce Membership; and Basic Membership.  This had resulted in 105 memberships being established across these categories.


The Briefing Note outlined the work undertaken by Destination Coventry during the 17 operational months of the pilot period to date.  There had been a number of campaigns supported through 2022 under themes of food and drink; nightlife; Halloween; and business Tourism, in addition to seasonal campaigns Explore Coventry and Coventry’s Winter Wonderland.  These campaigns had achieved a significant reach across television, radio, YouTube, social media accounts, website views, plus others.


The Scrutiny Board noted that there were a number of next steps and key priorities for the DMO, which included:


·  Sustainable DMO Model beyond 2023/24

·  DMO Review (du Bois Report)

·  2024 Tourism Strategy / Destination Management Plan

·  Collaborative sustainable tourism journey

·  Further specialist sector support opportunities

·  Addressing recruitment and skills challenges

·  Thematic campaigns – culture and heritage / sport

·  Business events grown, and

·  Major events.


The delivery of the Coventry Tourism Strategy 2019-2023 continued to be a core principle and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.


School Bus Services pdf icon PDF 212 KB

Briefing Note of the Director of Transportation and Highways


The Business, Economy and Enterprise Scrutiny Board (3), considered a briefing note which provided an update on the future of several dedicated school bus services following a discussion at its meeting on 12th October 2022.


The Board had noted during its meeting in October 2022 that there were a number of dedicated school bus services operating across the city, with 8 specific routes identified at risk of being withdrawn in the future.  These routes were divided into two groups:


(a)  Routes 53, 54 and 55 serving West Coventry Academy – these routes being operated by National Express on a commercial basis.  National Express had indicated that they were considering withdrawing these services as part of a wider review of the bus network.


(b)  Routes S40, S46, S48, S49 and S50 serving Bishop Ullathorne School.  These routes were being funded by the Council but, at the time of the October meeting, no funding had been allocated beyond the 2022/23 academic year for the continuation of these services.


It was noted that, as part of the budget setting process for 2023/24, a request had been made to fund the S40, S46, S48, S49 and S50 services over the next financial year.


It was acknowledged that the majority of the bus network within Coventry, including most dedicated bus services, operated on a commercial basis.  Transport for West Midlands (TfWM) has overall statutory responsibility for the city’s bus network and works closely with bus operators.  In addition, TfWM directly funded some services where these were socially important but would not be commercially viable.


Bus travel had fallen significantly following the Covid-19 pandemic, with passenger numbers at around 87% of pre-Covid levels.  In addition to the lower passenger numbers, bus operators were also experiencing rising costs, particularly with fuel, and driver shortages.  The driver shortage was an industry wide issue which had caused a significantly worse reliability of service.  TfWM have been working with operators to carry out a review of the bus network.


As part of the bus network review, National Express had initially indicated that they intended to withdraw a total of 15 dedicated school bus services across the West Midlands.  These were previously operated on a commercial basis, without any funding from either TfWM or any individual local authorities.  This included the 3 routes identified in (a) above.  Both TfWM and the Council expressed concern about the potential withdrawal of these services on the grounds set out in the briefing note.  Following further discussions with TfWM and National Express, these routes are to be retained and therefore the network review would not now directly affect any dedicated school routes in Coventry.


The briefing note indicated that  during the 2020/21 academic year, the Council had stepped in to support a number of services, including those identified in (b) above, when the previous operator, Travel De Courcey, entered administration.  Initially, 14 routes, serving 6 schools were affected.  In the first year, the Council was able to access a grant from  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.


Electric Vehicle Charging Network pdf icon PDF 214 KB

Briefing Note of the Director of Transportation and Highways

Additional documents:


The Business, Economy and Enterprise Scrutiny Board (3), considered a briefing note which provided an update on the electric vehicle charging network in Coventry.


The Cabinet Member for Jobs, Regeneration and Climate Change introduced the item, highlighting that Coventry has the highest number of charge points in any city outside of London.  It was recognised that this feeds into the battery facility, the electric bus fleets, and a number of other projects.  It was acknowledged that electric vehicles are still expensive when compared to alternatives, but once the second hand market picks up, they would become cheaper.  It was further recognised that whilst the roll-out of charge point installations would be important, that it was necessary for careful assessments to be undertaken before decisions are made whether parking in charging bays should be restricted to electric cars only, particularly in communities where there were existing parking difficulties.


The briefing note indicated that, since 2017, the Council had secured £4.6m in grant funding from the Office for Zero Emissions Vehicles (OZEV) under the Electric Vehicle Charging Infrastructure (EVCI) programme.  This has resulted in a city-wide network of 603 electric vehicle charge points (EVCPs) being installed, with a further 157 becoming operational by January 2023.  This would take the total to 760 WVCPs capable of charging 1,030 vehicles at any one time as some EVCPs are capable of charging two vehicles at the same time.  The Board were advised that currently there were 528 on street residential charge points for public use, aimed at residents without off-street parking, and a further 39 on street rapid charge points for public use within city centre and district centre locations, aimed at commercial users, notably taxis and delivery vans.  In addition, there were 36 off street charge points for public use, sited at Salt Lane and the Railway Station car parks.  44 workplace charging points were available for private use by Council staff and visitors, funded through the Plug-in Coventry initiative.  10 charge points had been installed through the Ultra-Low Emissions Bus Scheme, for private use by the bus operator at the Bus Depot.  This was to be increased as part of the All Electric Bus City programme.


It is anticipated that, as the number of electrical vehicles registered in the city increases, there will be a demand to restrict the on-street parking bays with charge points available for electric vehicle use only.  Currently, such restrictions apply to a small number of charge points across the city, with a number of time limitations for their use, dependent upon their location and the type of charge point installed.  The restrictions are managed via sensors installed in the majority of the electric vehicle parking and charging bays.  The remaining bays are predominantly in residential streets and the restrictions are advisory only, to avoid too much pressure being placed upon on-street parking.  This means that non-electric vehicles can use the bays without penalty.  This approach would be kept under review.


In addition to the expansion of the on-street  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.


Work Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 261 KB

Report of the Scrutiny Co-ordinator


The Business, Economy and Enterprise Scrutiny Board (3) noted the Work Programme for 2022/23 and also noted that the Local Cycling and Walking Plan would include information on the usage of the cycle hire scheme, as well as actions to encourage cycling, as requested at a previous meeting.


Other items raised during the course of the meeting would be added to the Work Programme.


Any other items of public business which the Chair decides to take as matters of urgency because of the special circumstances involved


There were no other items of public business.