Executive Minutes

Date:
Thursday, 23rd March, 2017
Time:
7.30 pm
Place:
New Council Chamber, Town Hall, Reigate
 

Attendance Details

Present:
Councillors V.W. Broad (Leader of the Council), Mrs N. Bramhall J. Durrant, Dr L.R. Hack, Mrs R. Mill, Mrs R. Renton, T. Schofield and Mrs R. Turner.
Also Present:
Councillors Mrs R. Absalom, M. Blacker, A.C.J. Horwood, S.A. Kulka, S. McKenna, M.J. Selby, B.A. Stead, J. Stephenson and C.T.H. Whinney
Min NoDescriptionResolution
Part I
87 MINUTES

Before the start of the meeting the Executive stood in a minutes silence in honour of the tragic terrorist events that had taken place in London on 22 March 2017.

 

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 23 February 2017 be approved as a correct record and signed.

88 APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Executive Members: Councillors M.A. Brunt and E. Humphreys.
 

Non-Executive Member: Councillors N.D. Harrison and D.J. Pay.
 

89 DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

None.

90 ADOPTION OF THE 2017/18 TREASURY MANAGEMENT STRATEGY, PRUDENTIAL INDICATORS & INVESTMENT STRATEGY

Councillor T. Schofield, Executive Member for Planning Policy and Finance reported on the current position in relation to the adoption of the proposed Treasury Management Strategy for 2017/18.


The report set out relevant statutory powers, issues (objectives, the current treasury position, matters for consideration and prudential indicators) legal, financial and equalities implications, risk management and other considerations, consultation undertaken and policy framework factors. The report had five Annexes:


• An Investment Strategy
• A Borrowing Strategy
• A Cash Management Strategy
• Risk Management Assessment
• Minutes from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 16 March 2017


It was noted that the draft Strategy had been considered by the Executive in January 2017 and reviewed as part of the consultation by the Treasury Management Portfolio Holder Panel and by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


The Executive Member indicated that the only significant change proposed was an increase in the Borrowing Limits as set out in the Borrowing Strategy to help deliver the projects approved by the Council including the Marketfield Way project and the activities of the property company.


To comply with the Code of Practice on Treasury Management the Council has to approve annually prudential indicators and a Treasury Management Strategy that reflected the Council’s expected operations in this area for the 2017/18 financial year.


RECOMMENDED that the Treasury Management Strategy 2017/18 be approved.


RESOLVED that the comments of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee be noted.

 

Reasons for decision: To adopt a current Treasury Management Strategy for the 2017/18 period.

 

Alternative options: To not support the contents of this report or to defer it and ask Officers to provide more information and/or clarification on any specific points.
 

91 MARKETFIELD WAY - THE CONSTRUCTION OF A MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT COMPRISING CINEMA, A1, A2 AND A3 RETAIL, TOGETHER WITH 153 RESIDENTIAL FLATS AND UNDERCROFT CAR PARKING

The Executive Member for Property, Councillor Mrs N.J. Bramhall was pleased to report to the Executive that the report before them was the culmination of a significant amount of work by the Council’s property and the consultancy team on the proposed developments for Marketfield Way, Redhill.


The project had reached a key stage with an acceptable Planning Permission having been obtained and Phase 1 construction tenders received. It was noted that work had also progressed well to secure a number of key pre lets and potential pre sales of the residential aspect of the development.


The Executive noted that the next phases of the scheme included further financial investment into the detailed design of the project, further phase 2 tendering, acquiring of landed interests and responding to other landed interests.


The Executive Member emphasised that following further consultation and review a reassessment of the Options had been undertaken which had resulted in a re-analysis of the Options. The updated information was presented to the Executive in the Part 2 Addendum tabled at the meeting. It was noted that the reason for reconsidering the options was to provide the Council with greater flexibility to cater for changing markets and the economy going forward as this project was anticipated to take several years to bring to fruition and required more flexibility to accommodate different circumstances.


Councillor Mrs Bramhall indicated that the analysis had resulted in proposed changes to the recommendations in the published report. The Executive Member therefore proposed an amendment to Recommendations (ii) and (iv) to read:


(ii) That the Head of Property be authorised, in consultation with the Executive Member for Property, Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council, to progress Stage 3 of the Marketfield Way project, in accordance with the strategy set out in the Executive report dated 26 February 2015 and updates set out in this report, and bring forward the development, retaining the commercial elements and pre selling the residential flats to a private rented sector operator/residential investor or selling/ letting the individual residential units on the open market at completion of the development.


(iv) That the Capital Programme be amended to resource stage 3 of the Marketfield Way project subject to stage 3 (phase two construction tenders) meeting the financial parameters set out in the financial projections provided in Annex 6 and the estimated potential Compulsory Purchase costs set out in the exempt report in Part 2 of this agenda.


To make the revised recommendations easier for the Executive to understand the Executive Member tabled a full set of the revised recommendations that incorporated the above changes.


RECOMMENDED that the Capital Programme be amended to resource stage 3 of the Marketfield Way project subject to stage 3 (phase two construction tenders) meeting the financial parameters set out in the financial projections provided in Annex 6 and the estimated potential Compulsory Purchase costs as set out in the exempt report in Part 2 of the Executive’s agenda.


RESOLVED that:
(i) the completion of Stage 2 of the Marketfield Way project and the confirmation of the scheme’s viability, obtaining of detailed planning consent, and stage 1 building construction tenders be noted;

(ii) the Head of Property be authorised, in consultation with the Executive Member for Property, Leader and Deputy Leader of the Council, to progress Stage 3 of the Marketfield Way project, in accordance with the strategy set out in the Executive report dated 26 February 2015 and updates set out in the report before the Executive, and bring forward the development, retaining the commercial elements and pre selling the residential flats to a private rented sector operator/residential investor or selling/ letting the individual residential units on the open market at completion of the development;

(iii) the Marketfield Way project be progressed in accordance with the updated financial parameters set out in the exempt report in Part 2 of this agenda, including further land assembly, appointment of construction consultants, appointment of construction building contractors, placement of contracts to move statutory services on site, and conclusion of pre let arrangements; and

(iv) the list of prospective tenants set out in the exempt report in Part 2 of the agenda be noted.


Reasons for decision:
To obtain authority to progress to Stage 3, the appointment of a building construction contractor to progress phase 2 fixed tender and contract pricing, finalising of detail design, whilst at the same time progressing with moving statutory services from the site and preparing the site for the building contract.


Alternative options: The Executive received revised Options for consideration in the Addendum which included selling the site with the benefit of planning consent or to do nothing.
 

92 CHIPSTEAD DOWNS AND BANSTEAD WOODS LOCAL NATURE RESERVE

The Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Environment and Infrastructure, Councillor Dr L.R. Hack introduced the proposals to designate the Chipstead Downs and Banstead Woods as a Local Nature Reserve (LNR).
It was noted that this proposal was consistent with the Council’s commitment, through its adopted Local Plan, to enhance and protect biodiversity within the borough; and encourage access to outdoor recreation as promoted through Council’s Five Year Plan and the Core Strategy.


A Local Nature Reserve was a designation that allowed the Council to manage the biodiversity needs against those for outdoor recreation. The area of Chipstead Downs and Banstead Woods provided a perfect location for this as it was an area of great natural beauty and contained a variety of important habitats supporting a range of wildlife and biodiversity. It was also a very popular place for recreation and access to green open space in the borough that attracted a large number of visitors.


The Executive Member reminded the Executive that although parts of the site already had landscape and nature conservation designations, there was currently no comprehensive designation for the area that could support a more holistic management approach.


Although the site had multiple owners including the Borough Council and the County Council agreement had been reached in principle with the County Council to allow the nature reserve to be declared on their behalf. The site was managed by the Downlands Partnership in conjunction with Surrey CC and the Council.


A Management Plan for the Local Nature Reserve was presented with the report to the Executive and it was confirmed that Natural England had expressed its support for this, and the new nature reserve.


In summing up the Deputy Leader indicated that the recommendations before the Executive provided it with the opportunity to promote the positive work that had already been undertaken by the Council to manage this site as a resource for local people and visitors with the additional advantages that a Local Nature Reserve provided.


RESOLVED that:


(i) the area of Chipstead Downs and Banstead Woods (shown on Map 1 within this report) be declared as a Local Nature Reserve, including land within Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s ownership and – on their behalf – land that falls within the ownership of Surrey County Council; and

(ii) the Head of Service with responsibility for Legal be authorised to enter into a legal agreement on behalf of Reigate & Banstead Borough Council, with Surrey County Council, to provide the legal framework to allow Chipstead Downs and Banstead Woods to be declared as a Local Nature Reserve as agreed in (i) above.
 

Reasons for decision:
Declaration of Chipstead Downs and Banstead Woods as a Local Nature Reserve will allow this important site to be properly and positively managed for recreation whilst simultaneously ensuring that the important and protected landscape character, habitats and biodiversity were enhanced and not unintentionally degraded.
As the site fell within the ownership of both Reigate & Banstead Borough Council and Surrey County Council, agreement had been reached in principle between the two authorities for the Borough Council to declare those areas that are owned by the County Council on their behalf. The site’s declaration as a Local Nature Reserve would also allow more effective joined-up working between the owners of the land at this important area for biodiversity and wildlife.


Alternative option: To maintain the site under the existing protections it had through a variety of national and local designation.
 

93 REIGATE AND BANSTEAD LOCAL DEVELOPMENT SCHEME

Councillor T. Schofield, Executive Member for Planning Policy and Finance reported on the Council’s responsibility to prepare, maintain and make public a Local Development Scheme, which included information about the Local Plan documents that would be prepared, and the timetable for their production.


It was noted that the Development Management Plan was the main Local Plan document that was currently being prepared and would build on the strategic policy direction set out in the Core Strategy, providing detailed policies on a range of issues as well as development site allocations.


The Executive Member presented an updated Local Development Scheme, which had been revised to extend the timetable for the preparation of the DMP, and its accompanying policies map. The revised LDS allowed more time for additional evidence gathering, for recent Government policy changes to be taken into account, and to strengthen consensus on the sensitive issues that this plan needed to cover.


The next stage of public consultation (Regulation 19) on the DMP was now planned for early 2018 with the anticipated adoption date being autumn 2018.


RESOLVED that the revised Local Development Scheme (LDS) (Annex 1 to the report) be approved and brought into effect from 5 April 2017.


Reasons for decision:
Reigate & Banstead Borough Council is required to prepare and maintain a Local Development Scheme (LDS) by the Planning and Compulsory Purchase Act 2004, as amended by the Planning Act 2008 and the Localism Act 2011.


Alternative option: Do not approve the LDS.
 

94 OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE WORK PROGRAMME 2017/18

A report was submitted with the proposed 2017/18 work programme for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. The report set out relevant statutory powers, information on the work programme and how it had been prepared, resource, legal and equalities implications and consultation undertaken. The draft work programme was appended to the report.


The Leader of the Council, Councillor V.W. Broad informed the Executive that he and the Chief Executive had been consulted during the preparation of the work programme and that it delivered a good range of activities that were both achievable and adding value to the work of the Council.


The Executive noted that the work programme proposals for 2017/18 included provision for scrutiny of Pathway, and other council owned companies, at an appropriate time when they have had sufficient time to operate and be constructively reviewed. However the Overview & Scrutiny Committee had requested an earlier report on Pathway and the Leader indicated that in the interests of working constructively with the Committee, a report would be provided to the Committee in April 2017.


The Committee had also requested a report regarding the recent investment in the Council IT system improvements and it was confirmed that this would be provided to the Committee during the 2017/18 municipal year.


The Committee had continued to recognise the increased pressures on the Council and had sought to maintain a streamlined approach to its activities to ensure that its work programme reflected the Council’s priorities.


RECOMMENDED that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programme for 2017/18 be adopted.


Reasons for decision: To agree a work programme for the Overview and Scrutiny Committee for the 2017/18 Municipal Year.


Alternative options: To add to or not adopt the Overview and Scrutiny Committee work programme for 2017/18.
 

95 QUARTERLY PERFORMANCE REPORT (Q3 - OCTOBER TO DECEMBER 2016)

A report was submitted with financial monitoring information for the third quarter of 2016/17. The report also provided the headline issues on major variances in relation to the Council's overall performance for the period together with details of recent Internal Audits that had been received.


The Executive was informed that all key service indicators were on target or within agreed tolerances.
On the financial side, a year end underspend of £766,700 on the revenue budget was projected as a result of increased income from the refuse and recycling and car parking services. It was noted that the underspend would transfer to the General Fund Reserves.


The capital budget was projecting an underspend of over £1.009m (4.6%), partly due to underspend on the Waste Blueprint project and managed changes to the vehicle and plant programme and underspend of the Disabled Facilities Grant.


The report also included progress against the LGA Improvement Action Plan, which showed that the Council continued to make significant progress across the seven recommendations made by the peer challenge group. The Action Plan included the recommendations made by the LGA during their re-visit in September 2016. The Executive noted a Member observation under the “Tell people your story” section that the ‘streetlife’ option had closed and that this would be updated for the future.


The report also highlighted a new Strategic Risk for 2016-17 regarding Fleet vehicles and new emerging strategic risks for 2017/18.


The Overview and Scrutiny Committee had considered the performance report at its meeting on 16th March 2017 and had no comments or issues to raise with the Executive on the current performance.


RESOLVED that the performance outlined in the quarterly performance report upto December 2016 be noted and the 2017-18 Strategic Risks be approved.

 

Reasons for decision:
To consider performance for the third quarter of the financial year 2016/17 and to consider updates against the LGA Action Plan together with appropriate arrangements for performance and risk management in 2017/18.


Alternative options: None.
 

96 DEBT WRITE OFF & RECOVERY PERFORMANCE REPORT

The Executive Member for Finance, Councillor T. Schofield, Executive Member for Planning Policy and Finance proposed that the Executive write off 10 debts. This proposal followed all possible action to recover these amounts.


Councillor Schofield stated that the Council took debt recovery very seriously, that it would work with individuals and companies in difficulty to bring things to a satisfactory conclusion, but that all legal tools would be used to recover the debt until it became impossible or uneconomic to do so.


It was also emphasised that write off was essentially an accounting process to protect the Council against mis-statement of the accounts and that in all cases it was only recommended when all possible avenues had been exhausted. If further information was received or if the circumstances surrounding the debts changed then they would be pursued again.


The Executive noted that despite the proposed write offs; Reigate and Banstead remained a high performing Council in terms of debt recovery as reflected in Annex 2 to the report that showed the very good debt recovery performance so far in the financial year.


RESOLVED that:


(i) ten debts totalling £74,725.66 (as detailed in Annex 1 of the Executive’s report) be approved for writing out of the Council’s accounts; and
(ii) the performance on debt recovery for the 2016/17 financial year be noted.


Reasons for decision:
Six of the debts related to National Non Domestic Rates (NNDR or Business Rates), and four related to Council Tax. All possible action had been taken to recover these amounts and approval was sought to technically write them out of the accounts.


Alternative options: To not approve the proposed write offs.
 

97 PROPOSED APPROACH FOR LEGAL SERVICES

The Leader of the Council, Councillor V.W. Broad reported on recent changes within the Council’s legal services and the proposed approach going forward.


By way of background the Leader reminded the Executive that in 2014 the Council had agreed to establish a Legal Services partnership with Spelthorne Borough Council, which was beneficial for both councils. However, there had been occasions where the shared service was under pressure and at times this has impacted on the level of service provided. It had become clear at the start of the year that the requirements of both partners had changed and as a result it was noted that the shared service would end on 31 March 2017.


The Leader recognised that whilst there would be some short term challenges as a result of the withdrawal of Spelthorne based staff, there was also the opportunity for the Council to further develop the commercial agenda and create a new legal structure that attracted the skilled staff required to meet the Council’s ambitious plans.


The Executive noted that external support would be utilised to improve the service in the short term and develop a viable project to commercialise the services during the 2017/18 financial year. This approach would enable legal services to support the Council’s services and the Five Year Plan priorities.


The report also referenced the current position regarding the Monitoring Officer, which had become vacant following the return of the Head of Legal Services to Spelthorne Borough Council. It was noted that the Employment Committee had met on 23 March 2017 to consider the appointment of a Monitoring Officer and that its recommendations would be presented to the Full Council on 13 April 2017 for consideration.


The Executive noted that a further progress report would be provided later in the year.


RESOLVED that:
(i) the cessation of the Spelthorne and Reigate and Banstead Borough Council Legal Partnership be noted; and
(ii) the proposed approach to an independent Legal Services be endorsed in principle and the Acting Head of Legal be authorised to develop a commercial vehicle to deliver Legal Services.


Reasons for decision:
To develop and maintain separate legal support for Reigate and Banstead BC services as an immediate priority. Whilst, in parallel, developing and delivering a project to commercialise legal services during the financial year 2017/18 which supported the Council’s 5 Year Plan to develop a more commercial approach to services and develop new revenue income sources.


Alternative options: None.
 

98 STATEMENTS

None.

99 ANY OTHER URGENT BUSINESS

None.

100 EXEMPT BUSINESS

RESOLVED that members of the Press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following items of business under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 on the grounds that:


(i) it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act; and

(ii) the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.
 

Part II(Confidential)
101 MARKETFIELD WAY - THE CONSTRUCTION OF A MIXED USE DEVELOPMENT COMPRISING CINEMA, A1, A2 AND A3 RETAIL, TOGETHER WITH 153 RESIDENTIAL FLATS AND UNDERCROFT CAR PARKING
  • Item 15: Marketfield Way Part 2 Report (2M/bytes)

The Executive Member for Property, Councillor Mrs N.J. Bramhall informed the Executive that the Part 2 section of the report on Marketfield Way, Redhill contained a summary of the options available to the Council, various detailed financial appraisals, predicted financial out turns, yields and estimated profit should it be decided to sell the development at completion.


As referred to in the public section of the meeting the Executive received the review of the Options analysis as contained in the Part 2 Addendum that had been tabled and the Executive Member responded to a number of questions about the report from Members.


RESOLVED that the exempt information relating to the Marketfield Way, Redhill development be noted.
 

The meeting closed at 8.24 pm.