Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: No
Is subject to call in?: Yes
To consider the report of the Cabinet Member for Growth detailing the associated structures and approvals required in support of the Solent Freeport.
Having complied with paragraph 15 of the Council’s Access to Information Procedure Rules:
(i) Cabinet supports the strategic submission of the next outline business case (OBC) as a Board Member of Solent Freeport Consortium Limited, on or before the 26 November 2021, as part of National Freeport Programme Application process and to agree an appropriate Site Specific Agreement for the Redbridge (Tax) site.
(ii) Cabinet raises any issues outlined in this paper over the current Solent Freeport proposals, to then be shared with the Solent Freeport Consortium Limited (SFCL).
1. This report is submitted for consideration as a General Exception under paragraph 15 of the Access to Information procedure Rules in Part 4 of the City Council’s Constitution, notice having been given to the Chair of the relevant Scrutiny Panel and the Public. The matter requires a decision with the urgency linked to the impending submission of the updated Solent Freeport OBC and given Government’s approval process. For these reasons the decision cannot be deferred for inclusion in the next Forward Plan for decision following 28 clear days’ notice.
2. The implications of the approval of the Solent Freeport proposal are wide ranging and complex. The approvals process is fast-moving and detailed with several government departments involved and agencies such as BEIS, DLUHC and HMRC.
3. The Solent Freeport partnership is complex with a variety of public and private interests and approvals to be managed in unison, as far as possible. Private sector partners also have significant and complex decisions to make and further risks may evolve for all partners. The management of risk by the SCFL Board and the Local Authority partners, particularly the Tax and Customs site partners will be important and will need to be offset against the wider economic benefits.
1. One alternative option is for SCC not to support the emerging Solent Freeport Consortium proposals, however support has been provided to date and with a very challenging approvals process. With most if not all significant approvals being made by government, nationally, SCC not supporting the proposals might only carry limited weight.
2. In future years the Solent Local Authorities might seek to influence the strategic development of the Solent Freeport through a combined or devolved position. At present however the current ‘county deal’ devolution proposals are at a very early stage of consideration. Any devolution ‘package’ could support the accelerated delivery of Freeport infrastructure and devolution aside, local authorities will continue to play a key and active role in shaping Freeports and not just in the short-term.
Report author: Matthew Hill
Publication date: 15/11/2021
Date of decision: 15/11/2021
Decided at meeting: 15/11/2021 - Cabinet
Effective from: 24/11/2021