To note the impact of the County Council’s investment and role in securing and delivering these two internationally prestigious events; and the planned-for wider community impact from both events.
Stephanie Holt-Castle (Interim Director of Environment, Planning and enforcement) and Tony Witton (Culture and Creative Economy Manager) were in attendance for this item.
1. Mr Hill, OBE (Cabinet Member for Community and Regulatory Services) introduced the report that provided an update to Members on the Turner Prize 2019 and Open Golf 2020; two high profile events of international reputation which would bring significant media interest and income into the county. Kent County Council was working with partners on a county-wide basis to maximise opportunities afforded by both events through coordinating marketing and presenting coherent visitor offers to raise the profile of the county as an attractive place to live, work and visit. A significant amount of work had already been undertaken in conjunction with Dover District Council to improve visitor capacity at Sandwich station ahead of the Open Golf and work continued to be done to ensure successful delivery of the two major events.
2. Mr Witton highlighted the significance of the two events and Kent County Council’s responsibility in generating greater income via the visitor economy and was working in close partnership with Visit Kent and the Turner Contemporary to maximise visitor footfall into the county during the two planned events. Mr Witton also announced that since publication on the paper, the four artists had been shortlisted for the Turner Contemporary Prize award and Kent County Council was in the process of liaising with Turner Contemporary regarding the exhibitions that were due to be in place from September 2019 to January 2020.
3. Mrs Holt-Castle informed the Committee that Dover District Council was the lead authority for the Open Golf Championship and that Kent County Council was the co-presenting authority. However, Mrs Holt-Castle confirmed that Kent County Council was the lead authority for sport, transport and rail elements of the two events and said that a community event was due to be held in Sandwich at the end of May 2019 to reveal the transport plan. Mrs Holt-Castle referred Members to paragraph 3.6 of the report that outlined the sporting legacy and said that the R&A were working to improve cross-generational interest through offering free tickets to everyone under the age of 16 and subsidised tickets to everyone under the age of 25 attending the Open Golf Championship. Kent County Council had managed to secure three series of The Open Golf Championship through to 2036, which provided an opportunity for the County Council to look at how it would use that sixteen-year window to maximise golf tourism within the county.
4. Officers responded to comments and questions as follows:
(a) In response to Members queries around the level of engagement with schools, Mr Witton said that the educational learning aspect of the Turner Prize was not featured in the report as it was the responsibility of the Turner Contemporary to liaise with schools. He assured the Committee that that the Turner Contemporary provided a comprehensive learning programme and would engage with all schools throughout the county to promote the Turner Prize event, which Kent County Council would play a supporting role in. Mr Witton informed the Committee that libraries were running a digital commission which would promote intergenerational engagement and provide learning opportunities for a range of Kent communities. Mr Smith (Director of Economic Development) commended the Turner Contemporary’s existing educational programmes and the level of interaction it offered to schools, primarily in Margate, and said that this was being extended across the county. Kent County Council was responsible for managing all other aspects to support the events including infrastructure, train timetables and facilities to help support increased visitor numbers.
(b) Mrs Holt-Castle responded to Members comments regarding free open days to encourage young people into golf and said that this had already been incorporated into the plans that were being formed by the Golf Working Group; work however needed to continue to ensure delivery of those initiatives.
(c) In response to utilities planning, both the Golf Championship and Turner Prize had transport Working Groups that identified planned utilities work and ensured this was not scheduled to take place during the period of the two events. Mrs Holt-Castle informed the Committee that the Readiness Working Group was scheduled to take place on 10 May 2019 and agreed to report back to Mrs Binks directly to confirm planned utilities work. Members were reminded that Kent County Council had a duty of care to respond to emergency works should these be required.
(d) Officers noted Members request for an update report on the sailing of the Mayflower.
5. RESOLVED that the impact of the County Council’s investment and role in securing and delivering the two internationally prestigious events; and the planned-for wider community impact from both events, be noted.