Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Tuesday, 15th July, 2014 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, Priory Road, Spalding

Contact: Amanda Taylor  01775 764837

Items
No. Item

9.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 49 KB

To sign as a correct record the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 10 June 2014 (copy enclosed). 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 10 June 2014 were signed by the Leader as a correct record.

10.

Declarations of Interest

(Members are no longer required to declare personal or prejudicial interests but are to declare any new Disclosable Pecuniary Interests that are not currently included in their Register of Interests.

 

Members are reminded that under the Code of Conduct they are not to participate in the whole of an agenda item to which they have a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest.  In the interests of transparency, members may also wish to declare any other interests that they have, in relation to an agenda item, that supports the Nolan principles detailed within the Code of Conduct.)   

 

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

11.

Questions raised by the public under Cabinet Procedure Rule 2.4

Minutes:

No questions were raised under Cabinet Procedure Rule 2.4.

12.

matters subject to call-in

Minutes:

There were no matters subject to call-in.

13.

matters arising from the Policy Development and Performance Monitoring Panels

Minutes:

There were no matters arising from the Policy Development and Performance Monitoring Panels.

14.

Pre-Application Consultation Group pdf icon PDF 32 KB

To consider and approve the amended Terms of Reference.  (Report of the Assistant Director Democratic Services enclosed.)

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the report of the Assistant Director Democratic Services which sought approval of the amended Terms of Reference for the Pre-Application Consultation Group.

 

DECISION:

 

That the amended Terms of Reference for the Pre-Application Consultation Group be approved.

 

(Other options considered:

·      Not to approve the recommendations; or

·      To approve the recommendations with amendments.

Reasons for decision:

·      The Pre-Application Consultation Group recommended for re-appointment has a future role to perform in advising the Cabinet or making decisions under delegated authority.)

15.

Housing Growth pdf icon PDF 279 KB

To consider options for a council led housing investment strategy, including the establishing of a Council owned housing company,  to deliver the wider economic benefits associated with increasing the supply of housing and generating an income stream to provide further community benefit in the future.  (Joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing Landlord and the Housing Manager enclosed.)

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Housing Landlord and the Housing Manager which provided options for a council led housing investment strategy, including the establishment of a Council owned housing company, to deliver the wider economic benefits associated with increasing the supply of housing and generating an income stream to provide further community benefit in the future.

 

Councillor R Gambba-Jones queried whether the housing industry had raised issues regarding Councils being provided with cheaper finance opportunities.   The Housing Manager advised that he was not aware of anything and in any case South Holland District Council would not be working to such a scale which would cause concerns to be raised.  The Leader stated that, on a national basis, the construction industry was generally happy that Councils were getting involved. 

 

Councillor C J Lawton confirmed that the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Panels’ requirements had been adhered to with regard to the work that had been carried out for the establishment of the company. 

 

Councillor Alcock raised concerns that some of the initial decisions being taken by the Company Board might cause issues, if out of the Councils’ control too soon.  The Leader explained that it would be a ‘Board’ of the Council and therefore decisions should be made in line with the authority’s requirements or they would be challenged.

 

Councillor Gambba-Jones queried whether the resources were adequate for the work required.  Councillor Lawton advised that, to begin with, any new housing would be built on land which the Council already owned.  The Housing Manager confirmed that existing available resources would be used.  However, in the future there would be a need to increase capacity.  He explained that all the information, including timescales, would be fully detailed within the Business Plan. 

 

The Executive Director (Place) advised that she had recently met with the Council’s external auditors, to go through the report, and they were wholly supportive of the principle as many Councils go through the same process. 

 

Members requested that the Articles of Association be included with the Business Plan on its future submission to Cabinet.  The Executive Director (Place) confirmed that it would be brought to the October meeting of Cabinet, in order to fit in with the Council’s budget setting process. 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS TO FULL COUNCIL:

 

a)      That the establishment of a wholly owned housing company as a private company limited by shares, for the purposes of developing a range of new housing solutions within the district, including affordable and market housing both for sale or rent be approved;

 

b)      That delegated authority be given to the Executive Director (Place) and the Housing Manager, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Housing Landlord and the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Finance and Democratic Services to develop a business plan for the company;

 

c)      That the business plan and articles of association be presented to Cabinet on 7 October 2014;

 

d)      That the initial composition of the Directors of the company be as detailed in 1.32 within  ...  view the full minutes text for item 15.

16.

Municipal Bonds Agency pdf icon PDF 38 KB

To inform Cabinet of proposals by the Local Government Agency for a Municipal Bonds Agency.  To note the potential benefits for the Council in relation to future treasury management, investment opportunities and borrowing requirements arising as a result of the creation of the Bonds Agency as a new major source of borrowing at competitive interest rates.
To note the risks associated with the initial staged set-up investment is capped to a maximum £50k.  To agree a staged investment in the Agency of up to £50,000 in 2 phased payments within the current financial year.  (Joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Finance and Democratic Services and the Executive Director enclosed.)

Minutes:

Consideration was given to the joint report of the Portfolio Holder for Strategic Finance and Democratic Services and the Executive Director which detailed proposals from the Local Government Agency for a Municipal Bonds Agency. To note the potential benefits for the Council in relation to future treasury management, investment opportunities and borrowing requirements arising as a result of the creation of the Bonds Agency as a new major source of borrowing at competitive interest rates.  To note the risks associated with the initial staged set-up investment is capped to a maximum £50k.  To agree a staged investment in the Agency of up to £50,000 in 2 phased payments within the current financial year.

 

Councillor A M Newton queried what the rates were.  Councillor P S Przyszlak confirmed that it would depend on the market.  The Leader stated that the advantage to the authority, from being involved at the beginning, was that there would be preferential borrowing rates.  He confirmed that there was no risk of losing the £50,000 investment, only the risk of losing some of it if the company was not set up. 

 

RECOMMENDATIONS TO FULL COUNCIL:

 

a)      That the initiative of the LGA in developing proposals for a Municipal Bonds Agency be welcomed;

 

b)      That a one off investment in the Agency of up to £50,000 be approved, subject to final details to be agreed by the Section 151 Officer, to be funded from the Organisation Development Reserve; and

 

c)      That the Section 151 Officer be authorised to negotiate, execute and complete all relevant legal documentation to give effect to the above recommendation.

 

(Other options considered:

·      Not to approve the recommendations; or

·      To approve the recommendations with amendments.

Reasons for decision:

·      To enable cheaper sources of borrowing for local authorities and the Council in particular; and

·      To strengthen the capacity of local government to arrange and manage its sources of loan finance independently of the Government (Public Works Loan Board.)

17.

Any other items which the Leader decides are urgent

 

 

Note:         (i)      No other business is permitted unless by reason of special circumstances, which shall be specified in the Minutes, the Leader is of the opinion that the item(s) should be considered as a matter of urgency. 

 

(ii)     Any urgent item of business that is a key decision must be dealt with in accordance with paragraphs 15 and 16 of the Constitution’s Access to Information Procedure Rules.

Minutes:

Network Rail – Vernatts Bridge Upgrade

 

The Leader reported that the Council had previously been approached by Network Rail with a request to grant a temporary licence to enable Network Rail to access an area of Council owned land in order to replace Vernatts Bridge, Spalding which would form part of the Peterborough to Lincoln to Doncaster line upgrade.  He reminded members that the request had been denied as a result of the inconvenience which would be caused the residents. 

 

The Leader advised that the Council had, again, been approached by Network Rail, who had now offered £30,000 in cash or kind towards the provision of a public amenity or benefit to the town.  This offer was in addition to the licence fee for use of the land.  The previous report had proposed that Network Rail also met the Council’s legal and valuation fees.  The total figure was therefore expected to be in the region of £37,000.  He was also aware that Network Rail had approached, or were about to approach, the Department of Transport seeking an Order under Section 14 of the Railway Regulation Act 1842 for emergency access to the Council’s land.  A decision was now required either accepting the offer or continuing to resist with the risk of a decision being made by Central Government granting access rights to Network Rail on terms which might not be as beneficial to the Council.  Members noted that the need to replace the bridge was not urgent, but was required in order to allow rail traffic to increase and to go through Spalding at a faster speed.    

 

Members discussed their concerns, including the potential of work being carried out 24 hours a day which would have major implications on residents in terms of noise, dust and road works.  Councillor G J Taylor advised that he had been approached by the residents from his ward with complaints regarding property valuations and requests for triple glazing.  He added that he was not able to get involved as he was also affected by the upgrade as he lived in close proximity to the railway line. 

 

The Leader informed members that the Council had, and would continue to work with Network Rail and maintain a constructive relationship while the upgrade was being carried out. 

 

The Leader suggested that the matter be deferred to full Council for consideration and agreed that a copy of the legal advice, original letter, and a

site plan of affected properties would be provided to councillors prior to the meeting.

 

RECOMMENDATION TO FULL COUNCIL:

 

a)      That the matter be deferred for consideration and decision; and

 

b)      That copies of the legal advice, original letter, and a site plan of affected properties be circulated prior to the meeting.

 

(Other options considered:

·      To agree to Network Rail’s offer; or

·      To decline Network Rail’s offer and await a decision from the Department of Transport.

Reasons for decision:

·      Network Rail was upgrading the line between Doncaster to Lincoln to Peterborough and would need to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.