The Chairman thanked Wolferstans Partners for hosting lunch and members of the City Council for hosting the meeting in the Council House. 68 members of the council were present. The PABC membership remains at 258 with 24 Hon members with 12 (member proposed) names on the current waiting list. A list of those who had joined since the March meeting is at Enclosure 1. The order of the agenda was specifically shuffled to allow Adrian Vinken and Graeme Little to make their respective presentations before 1300. The minutes, however, are constructed to marry with the planned agenda.
2. Diary dates
Members were briefed on a visit by the Immigration Minister on 20th June. Forthcoming dates include a likely event in HMS OCEAN when she comes out of refit, a visit by the new First Sea Lord and the Parliamentarians dinner on Thursday 28th November. Members were advised that the new website at www.PABC.CO is now up and running and has attracted much favourable comment. The Chairman expressed his appreciation of the work performed by Formedia to enable this project.
3. Constitutional Issue
The Chairman reported following the authorisation by members (item 2 of the minutes of the 50th meeting) that the board working group had now completed its work and that the boards of the Chamber of Commerce and the PABC were now in agreement with the arrangements that have been put in place for the establishment of the City Stakeholder Group (CSG) It will have its first meeting in July and the joint letter of promulgation will be forwarded to every member of the PABC, the Chamber, City Council, and all other major stakeholders very shortly. The Chairman emphasised the historic nature of this agreement and the benefit that it would bring in terms of overall city profile in outward facing negotiations and discussion.
4 UK Economic Round Up
It was recognised that the economy had now turned but that there was considerable distance to go locally and that the impact of central government cuts had still to be fully experienced. Nonetheless there was a good feeling about the city and its economy.
5. Regional and local Perspective
Anthony Payne supported by a mix of PCC members delivered a briefing on the regional and local economic position highlighting current consultation on the Plymouth Plan and the shaping of the city going forward, Mayflower 2020, the City's investment in supporting manufacturing and the building sector and the components of City Deal. Plymouth's inclusion in the transitional programme for EU regional funding is a boost. For details and further information please see the Economic Development Update recently provided by the Leader of the City and found at enclosure 4.
6. Transport links
The Chairman introduced Mike Greedy from First Great Western and the need for continuous lobbying for a new early direct train from London was emphasised. An update on the planned rail link to Tavistock was provided. It was agreed that Guy Walker should be asked to lead on Transport matters within the PABC and that a fuller discussion would take place at the September meeting.
7. Delegation to the US of A
Paul Woods briefed the meeting on the recent delegation of 12 City leaders to Plymouth Massachusetts. The visit resulted in broad alignment and a go-forward agenda to ensure that the celebration of Mayflower 2020 maximises economic potential in both Plymouths, harnessing in particular the economic synergies in higher education, marine, health and medical and advance engineering. A delegation led by Therese Murray, President of the Massachusetts Senate, is paying a return visit in September.
8. Naval base update
Cdre Little briefed the meeting on the Naval Base's crucial role within Plymouth as Navy's main support base for nuclear deep maintenance, Flag Officer Sea Training, the amphibious fleet, surface ship maintenance and the unparalleled nuclear engineering expertise brought through submarine dismantling. The Royal Marines, a very important part of the Navy and its future, are likely to increase in number in Plymouth. A vision for Devonport is currently being produced and will be widely promulgated to help influence strategic decision making. South Yard is recognised as important to the City's economic growth.
9. City of Culture Challenge
Adrian Vinken briefed the meeting on the bid for City of Culture 2017. A letter of support from Plymouth Chamber Massachusetts is at Enclosure 2. Announcement of the short-listed cities is expected on 21 June. Win or lose, Plymouth can roll out the opportunities and continue to build on strong links for 2020. The Royal Marines will celebrate 350 years in 2014 and big celebrations are planned.
10. Destination Plymouth was covered in other presentations.
Ashley Beare provided a written update which is at Enclosure 3.