The Mayor reported that she had attended the funeral of former Mayor of Winchester, Brian ‘Brandy’ Blunt. Brandy was a member of the Council from 1989 until 1999 and was Mayor 1996 to 1997. Members stood in silent tribute to his memory.
The Mayor’s other recent events had included the Law Sunday Cathedral service on 13 October 2019 where there had been eight High Sheriffs present, including the current High Sheriff of Hampshire, Sarah Le May. The event had been a great celebration of ‘100 years of Women in Law’ with a number of female justices of the peace also in attendance.
The Mayor then reported that Members and representatives of armed forces and other guests would be attending the Remembrance Sunday service at the Cathedral on 10November 2019. Recruits at Sir John Moore barracks would also be part of the marching contingent. The Mayor then invited all Members to join her together with the officers in commemorating the Armistice on 11 November at 11am from the Guildhall steps.
The Mayor then advised that the annual Mayor’s mince pies was to be on Wednesday 11 December between12noon and 2pm and final arrangements were to be confirmed in due course. The Mayor then announced two of her forthcoming charity events. Firstly, on Saturday 7 December, Hursley Park were to host a special exhibition of ‘Hursley Park and the Spitfire’ and on Friday 3 January 2020, there was to be a performance of ‘the Madding Crowd’ at Hyde Parish Hall.
Finally, the Mayor reminded Members that the Charity Christmas Card shop was now open in the Tourist Information Centre.
The Leader then made two announcements.
The Leader referred to a legal challenge to the Council’s award of outline planning permission for the redevelopment of the Station Approach scheme. The Leader advised that marketing of the site to potential developers had been paused until the legal position was clear. The Leader also reminded council that a £5 million grant had been awarded for the scheme from the Local Enterprise Partnership for archaeological investigation and associated public realm work and that this had to be spent by 31 March 2021. This legal challenge meant that the council could no longer guarantee to meet that spending deadline and the LEP would be advised accordingly. The Leader stated that the Council remained committed to supporting the economy of the city, but would now have to do that without the benefit of £5million external funding.
The Leader then announced that the Council had recently been named as the winner in the ‘Most Innovative Small Business Friendly Award’ category in the Federation of Small Business (FBS) Wessex Local Authority Business Friendly Awards 2019. The Leader referred to the unique events arranged by the Council aimed at supporting smaller businesses and thanked officers for their work in achieving this prestigious accolade.
The Chief Executive announced apologies for the meeting.
The Chief Executive then announced that the Council had now entered the pre election period of purdah until the day of poll on 12 December. As a consequence, the majority of council committees during this time were deferred.