Councillor Gidley asked the Strategic Regeneration and Partnerships (South) Portfolio Holder the following question:
“What assessment has been made of the impact of the closure of Barclays Bank in Romsey, and the potential closure of any bank in Andover?”
Councillor Adams-King thanked Councillor Gidley for her question and responded to say that it was unfortunate that branches are closing around the country, but that Members would appreciate that the Council has no control over those decisions made by private business and as such, no assessment has been undertaken.
Whilst the closure of Barclays will have an impact on all those residents and businesses which use that branch, it is those who do not have the ability to access on-line banking that will be most affected.
There already exists the ability to use branches of the Post Office, including the one in Romsey, to access a range of Barclays bank services including the withdrawal and depositing of cash. Customers may also wish to change banks, because of Barclays decision, to one of the alternative banks and building societies that remain. However, that is clearly a matter for the customer. Should the Andover branch close, and I am not aware that this is the case, then there are similar options available to residents and businesses.
I wish to also highlight to Council that officers actively work with the Test Valley Partnership to ensure good access to a range of services for our most vulnerable members of the community.
Councillor Gidley asked a supplementary question enquiring whether the Council would investigate any cash pilot schemes to support residents?
Councillor Adams-King responded that the circumstances would be kept under review and that work to look at the services available for the residents of Romsey and local issues were considered by the Romsey Future Group. Councillor Adams-King encouraged Councillor Gidley to participate in the work of Romsey Future.
Councillor Warnes asked the Waste, Recycling and Car Parking Portfolio Holder the following question:
"I was very pleased to hear that we have a strong relationship with Solent University in understanding the impact of food waste recycling on residents. It is great to be proactive but could the Councillor inform us of what is the working relationship with the University? This is with regards to what sort of contract do we have with them and are we part funding the work, this could be officers time not just funding and also what is the relationship with them regarding Intellectual Property and ownership of data?"
Councillor Adams-King responded to say that the Council has developed a positive partnership with Solent University over recent years to help access academic insights and research. The primary purpose of this partnership has been to develop cooperation in research, innovation, and knowledge exchange. Our collective work could be applied to specific joint projects, exchange visits for TVBC and Solent staff to develop their knowledge and understanding of relevant topics and widen horizons as well as exchange information and materials where there is a mutual interest.
The Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Solent back in 2020 which is due to run until 2025. It is purely a partnership document to foster beneficial cooperation, it does not provide the framework for any legal relationship or financial or resource obligations. There is no funding provision set out as part of the MoU and any specific costs would have to be set out as part of a specific project brief.
In term of the Intellectual property and ownership of data, the council and Solent recognise that they have a strong interest in the maintenance of the confidentiality and Intellectual Property Rights in their data both published and unpublished, and agree not to supply such data to a third party without the written agreement of the originating signatory unless required by law. Both the Council and Solent agree that, if they wish to use the copyright material of the other, they will seek prior approval for its use and give the required acknowledgements.
Councillor Warne asked a supplementary question to note that understanding the use of data and intellectual property were important considerations and that contracts would likely be needed for specific projects.
Councillor Adams-King advised that the relationship with Solent University developed from the Council’s work on Citizen Assemblies and through Romsey Future and allowed mutual learning sharing of insight. If the Council were to undertake a specific project with Solent then an appropriate agreement with regards to date would be agreed.