Agenda, decisions and minutes

Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee
Thursday, 5th March, 2015 6.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping

Contact: Jackie Leither Tel: 01992 564756  Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

40.

Substitute Members

(Director of Governance) To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Committee noted that Councillor A Lion substituted for Councillor W Breare-Hall at the meeting.

41.

Declarations of Interest

(Director of Governance) To declare interests in any item on the agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct.

 

The Chairman advised the Cabinet Committee that he would stand down as Chairman for Agenda Item 6, Queens Road, North Weald as he was a Ward Member and that Councillor R Bassett would assume the Chairmanship for this item.

42.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 45 KB

To confirm the minutes of the last meeting of the Cabinet Committee held on 18 December 2014.

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 18 December 2014 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

43.

Phase 2 - Future Use Options pdf icon PDF 133 KB

(Director of Communities) To consider the attached report (CHB-014-2014/15).

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)        That, having considered the option for the future use to be adopted for the development site at Burton Road, Loughton, following the decision of the Area Planning Sub-Committee (South) to refuse planning permission for Phase 2 of the Council’s house-building Programme.

 

A revised planning application be submitted for a scheme similar to that previously submitted, consisting of 52 new affordable homes and 50% unallocated parking (shown as Option 2 at Appendix 2 of the report to the Cabinet Committee) but addressing the reasons for refusal by reducing its  bulk, altering its design and overall height so as to reduce any impact on the neighbouring land and any detriment of the visual amenities of the locality, all as set out in the feasibility report at an estimated cost of £9,255,439 which will require an increased subsidy of around £2,184,000 (£42k per unit) based on a 30-year pay-back period.

 

(2)        That a detailed planning application for the scheme be submitted.

 

(3)        That a report be submitted to the Cabinet recommending that priority be given to the provision of an off-street parking scheme in Torrington Drive, Loughton being undertaken, subject to a resident consultation.

 

(4)        That the Director of Neighbourhoods be asked to give consideration to including any new off-street parking spaces being provided as a Residents Parking Scheme.

Minutes:

The Assistant Director of Housing (Property) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee, he advised that on 7 January 2015, the Area Planning Sub-Committee (South) considered and refused planning permission for Phase 2 of the Council’s Housebuilding Programme at Burton Road, Loughton consisting of 52 new affordable homes for applicants on the Council’s housing register. The decision for refusal was recorded as:

 

‘By reason of its bulk, design and density in terms of numbers of dwellings, the proposal would have an overbearing relationship with neighbouring land to the detriment of the visual amenities of the locality’.

 

In line with the Policy on the Future Use of Development Sites Unsuitable for Development agreed in April 2014, the Cabinet Committee considered the future use of the development site at Burton Road, Loughton. Set out below were a number of options:.

 

(1)        Appeal Against the Planning Decision

 

Any applicant was entitled to submit an appeal to the Secretary of State against a decision relating to a planning application. The Council had never before appealed against its own decision. However, in this instance, the application for Phase 2 of the Council’s Housebuilding Programme was submitted in the name of East Thames Group (ETG), who were the Council’s appointed Development Agent and they could be requested to submit an appeal, funded in full by the Council (since it was the Council that funded the Housebuilding Programme).

 

When submitting an appeal, applicants could ask for the case to be dealt with as a Written Representation, a Hearing or an Enquiry. If the Council were to take any of these appeal options it was important to note that the Council would have to pay for not only the Consultants fees and disbursements to prepare and present the appeal but also the fees associated with defending the appeal. There were a number of differences for each of the appeal processes, which are set out below:

 

a.            Written Representation – Where both the applicant (ETG) and the Council submit a written statement of case including all supporting documentations. The appointed Planning Inspector will then consider the documents, often visiting the site before reaching a decision. This could take between 3 and 6 months from submission before a decision was reached. ETG have estimated the cost of submitting a Written Representation to be around £5,000, and the cost of defending the appeal was estimated to be in the region of £2,500.

 

b.            Hearing – A simple examination of the matters arising under the appeal, normally where evidence did not need to be tested under cross examination. A hearing was normally heard over one day, and was led by the Planning Inspector. This could take between 6 and 9 months from submission before a decision was reached. ETG have estimated the cost of submitting an appeal and attending the hearing to be around £27,500 (excluding VAT and disbursements), and the cost of defending the appeal was estimated to be in the region of £4,500.

 

c.            Public Inquiry – This was  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Feasibility Studies (Revised) - Centre Drive (Site B), Epping and Queens Road, North Weald pdf icon PDF 122 KB

(Director of Communities) To consider the attached report (CHB-015-2014/15).

Additional documents:

Decision:

That, following consideration of a revised feasibility study and viability assessment for the sites at Queens Road, North Weald and Centre Drive (Site B) Epping, which took account of the Cabinet Committee’s comments made at its December 2014 meeting consideration.

 

(1)        Queens Road, North Weald

 

(a)        The revised feasibility study of 12 x 3 bedroom, 2 storey units with a total of 28 car parking spaces be agreed as a viable site to progress to a detailed planning stage;

 

(b)        The terms of any existing licence/lease, allowing access to the allotments, be maintained; and

 

(c)        A further report be submitted to the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee should negotiations with the tenant in Queens Road, regarding the re-siting of the substation break down.

 

(2)        Site B, Centre Drive, Epping

 

The revised feasibility study of 1 x 3 bedroom house, 2 storey’s high with a total of 3 car parking spaces be agreed as a viable site to progress to a detailed planning stage.

Minutes:

The Chairman stated that he would stand down as Chairman for item (1) Queens Road, North Weald, and Councillor R Bassett assumed the Chairmanship for this item.

 

The Assistant Director of Housing (Property) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee. He advised that at the last meeting of the Cabinet Committee on 18 December 2014, it had been decided that the sites at Queens Road, North Weald and Centre Drive, Epping, Site B be deferred for further information and revised feasibility studies.

 

(1)        Queens Road, North Weald

 

The Assistant Director advised that the revised feasibility study was for 12 x 3 bedroom houses which were 2 stories high and each had 2 car parking spaces. There were also 4 extra visitor car parking spaces on the site.

 

He reported that no firm costs could be confirmed at this meeting for the re-siting of the substation, but that it had been estimated at £120,000.

 

Members were concerned that if negotiations with the tenant regarding the re-siting of the substation broke down then the Council, being the owners of the land, could by delegated authority issue a notice of seeking possession to the tenant. Members asked if negotiations broke down with the tenant and before any firm decisions were made, they would like this item to come back to the Cabinet Committee for further discussion.

 

 (2)       Site B, Centre Drive, Epping

 

The Assistant Director advised that the revised feasibility study was for 1 x 3 bedroom house which was 2 stories high with 3 car parking spaces.

 

Decision:

 

That, following consideration of a revised feasibility study and viability assessment for the sites at Queens Road, North Weald and Centre Drive (Site B) Epping, which took account of the Cabinet Committee’s comments made at its December 2014 meeting consideration.

 

(1)        Queens Road, North Weald

 

(a)        The revised feasibility study of 12 x 3 bedroom, 2 storey units with a total of 28 car parking spaces be agreed as a viable site to progress to a detailed planning stage;

 

(b)        The terms of any existing licence/lease, allowing access to the allotments, be maintained; and

 

(c)        A further report be submitted to the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee should negotiations with the tenant in Queens Road, regarding the re-siting of the substation break down.

 

(2)        Site B, Centre Drive, Epping

 

The revised feasibility study of 1 x 3 bedroom house, 2 storey’s high with a total of 3 car parking spaces be agreed as a viable site to progress to a detailed planning stage.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

At its meeting in December 2014, the Cabinet Committee asked that each of the 2 sites at Queens Road, North Weald and Centre Drive (Site B) Epping sites be revised to provide an alternative mix of dwellings. Each site is presented on its own merits at this stage. However, when each of the feasibility studies have been considered, the Cabinet Committee will then be asked to batch the sites in line with the Policy on Prioritisation of Sites.

 

Other  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44.

45.

Street / Building Naming - Phase 1 pdf icon PDF 102 KB

(Director of Communities) To consider the attached report (CHB-016-2014/15).

Decision:

That, following consultation with Waltham Abbey Town Council and the three Ward Members, and as suggested by the Town Council:

 

(a)   The four houses and two duplex flats at the site of the former Red Cross Hall, Roundhills, Waltham Abbey be named “Hockley Court”; and

 

(b)   The two new houses to the rear of 66-72 Fairways, Waltham Abbey be named “Wood Villas”.

Minutes:

The Director of Communities presented a report to the Cabinet Committee he advised that in accordance with the Terms of Reference, the names of developments undertaken through the Council House Building Programme would follow consultation with the Parish or Town Councils and Ward Members.

 

The Director had consulted Waltham Abbey Town Council on the two remaining un-named developments within Phase 1 and, as requested, they had provided five suggested names for each development, in a ranked order of preference.

 

The three Ward Members had been consulted on the Town Council’s suggestions, and had raised no objections.

 

It was therefore proposed that the two developments be named in accordance with the Town Council’s two most preferred names.

 

Decision:

 

That, following consultation with Waltham Abbey Town Council and the three Ward Members, and as suggested by the Town Council:

 

(a)   The four houses and two duplex flats at the site of the former Red Cross Hall, Roundhills, Waltham Abbey be named “Hockley Court”; and

 

(b)   The two new houses to the rear of 66-72 Fairways, Waltham Abbey be named “Wood Villas”.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

The two remaining un-named developments in Phase 1 of the Council Housebuilding Programme required names. The Cabinet Committee had been authorised by the Leader of the Council to decide the names of new developments.

 

Other Options Considered and Rejected:

 

The main options appear to be:

 

(a)  To name the developments after any of the other names suggested by the Town Council; or

 

(b)  To agree different names proposed by the Cabinet Committee itself.

46.

Progress Report Marden Close, Faversham Hall and Phase 1 pdf icon PDF 96 KB

(Director of Communities) To consider the attached report (CHB-017-2014/15).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director of Housing (Property) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee, he advised that Phase 1, Marden Close and Faversham Hall, were running behind programme for a variety of reasons and asked the Consultants who were overseeing Phase 1, Pellings LLP, to advise the Cabinet Committee of the problems that had been encountered.

 

Ian Collins from Pellings LLP, advised the Cabinet Committee that the two existing buildings at Marden Close and Faversham Hall were running behind schedule due to the age of the buildings and structural issues which at the time of tender these elements could not be seen and were therefore not able to be factored into the time frame. This scheme was delayed by approximately 4-5 weeks, whereas Phase 1 was delayed due to ground conditions that required the foundations to be piled.

 

Members expressed concern with this delay and asked for an updated progress report at the next meeting and also if there were any financial penalties for lateness passed on to the Contractors, that a report on the costs be submitted at the next meeting.

 

Decision:

 

That the current progress with regard to Marden Close and Faversham Hall, as well as Phases 1 of the Council Housebuilding Programme be noted.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

It was a requirement that the Housebuilding Cabinet Committee received regular updates on progress and monitors expenditure against the House-building budget as delegated by the Cabinet.

 

Other Options Considered and Rejected:

 

This report is for noting only.

47.

Financial Reports pdf icon PDF 96 KB

(Director of Communities) To consider the attached report (CHB-018-2014/15).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director of Housing (Property) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee, he advised that the schedule set out at Agenda Item 9, Appendix 1 was the current position as at 31 December 2014 with regard to the Right to Buy receipts.

 

The Assistant Director advised that one of the Cabinet Committee’s Terms of Reference was to monitor expenditure on the Housing Capital Programme Budget for the Council Housebuilding Programme, ensuring the use (within the required deadlines) of the capital receipts made available through the Council’s Agreement with the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) allowing the use of additional “Replacement Right to Buy (RTB) Receipts” received as a result of the Government’s increase in the maximum RTB Discount to be spent on housebuilding.

 

At its meeting in February 2014, the Cabinet Committee received a suite of detailed financial reports covering all financial issues relating to the Housebuilding Programme. Since progress was on a phase by phase basis and was monitored separately it had been possible to consolidate the detailed financial reports into just 2 appendices.

 

Appendix 1 (Agenda Item 9) captured the total amount of Replacement Right To Buy Receipts received and available for use for “One-for-One Replacement” on the Council’s Housebuilding Programme, as captured on the Pooling Return to the DCLG and when it was required to be spent. It also captured the actual expenditure to date and compared that to the projected future planned expenditure profile.

 

Appendix 2 (Agenda Item 9) set out the amount and use of financial contributions available to the Council’s Housebuilding Programme from Section 106 Agreements, in lieu of the provision of on-site affordable housing on private development sites, and other sources of funding (e.g. sales of HRA land and non-RTB property, and external funding)

 

This information had been captured and presented for monitoring purposes, therefore it was recommended that the current financial position be noted.

 

Decision:

 

(1)        That the current financial position be noted, in respect of:

 

(a)        The amount of additional “Replacement Right to Buy (RTB) Receipts” for utilisation under the Government’s “one-for-one replacement” scheme that has been received; when it is required to be spent; the actual expenditure to date; and the future planned expenditure profile (Appendix 1); and

 

(b)        The amount and use of financial contributions available to the Council’s Housebuilding Programme from Section 106 Agreements, in lieu of the provision of on-site affordable housing on private development sites, and other sources of funding (e.g. sales of HRA land and non-RTB property, and external funding) (Appendix 2).

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

The Council’s Housebuilding Programme was a high profile, high cost activity. It was therefore essential to ensure that budgets, costs and expenditure were properly monitored, to enable corrective action to be taken at the earliest opportunity, when necessary.

 

Other Options Considered and Rejected:

 

Not to have regular Financial Reports presented to the Cabinet Committee.

48.

Prioritisation of Potential Future Sites pdf icon PDF 117 KB

(Director of Communities) To consider the attached report (CHB-019-2014/15).

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)        That the strategic approach adopted by the Cabinet Committee at its meeting in February 2014 continues for the prioritisation of potential sites;      

 

(2)        That, taking account of the strategic approach for the prioritisation of potential sites, and using updated statistics as at February 2015, locations be grouped together into the following two Groups and the Priority Orders shown:

 

Group A (Locations with sites that could potentially deliver 10 or more homes):

 

Priority       Location

 

1                 Loughton

2                 Waltham Abbey

3                 Epping

4                 Ongar

5                 Buckhurst Hill

6                 North Weald

 

     Group B (Locations with sites that could potentially deliver less than 10 homes):

 

Priority       Location

 

1                 Roydon

2                 Nazeing

3                 Theydon Bois

4                 High Ongar

5                 Coopersale

6                 Matching Green/Tye

 

 

(3)        That a review of the priority orders within Groups A and B in (2) above be undertaken by the Cabinet Committee in 3-years’ time, having regard to the same strategic approach set-out in the existing Policy on the Prioritisation of sites; and

 

(4)        That, taking account of the priority order agreed by the Cabinet Committee in February 2014, Phase 3 be made up of 35 new homes on the following sites already agreed as viable by the Cabinet Committee at its meeting in December 2014, subject to the two revised feasibility studies at Queens Road, North Weald and Centre Drive (Site B), Epping, considered earlier on the agenda, being agreed, based on a total scheme cost of £6,395,477, with a subsidy requirement of £923,600:

 

a.   Queens Road, North Weald          -    12x3-bed 5P houses

b.   Bluemans End, North Weald        -    4x3-bed 5P houses

c.   Stewards Green Road, Epping     -    4x3-bed 5P houses

d.   Site A Parklands, Coopersale       -    2x1-bed 2P flats & 2x2-bed 4P houses

e.   Site C Parklands, Coopersale       -    1x2-bed 4P bungalow

f.    Centre Avenue, Epping                 -    2x3-bed 5P houses

g.   Centre Drive (Site B), Epping       -    1x3-bed 5P houses

h.   Site B Springfield, Epping             -    2x1-bed 2P bungalows

i.    Site C Springfield, Epping             -    2x1-bed 2P bungalows & 2x2-bed 4P houses

j.    79 London Road, Ongar               -    1x3-bed 5P house

 

(5)       That, subject to the sites listed in Decision (4) above being agreed, each site be progressed to detailed design stage, with planning applications being submitted and, subject to planning approval, tenders to be sought in accordance with the Procurement Strategy for House-building; and

 

(6)       That Phase 4 of the Council’s House-building Programme focusses on Ongar and Buckhurst Hill.

Minutes:

The Assistant Director of Housing (Property) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee,he advised that at its meeting in February 2014, the Cabinet Committee agreed a Policy on the future prioritisation of development sites based on rotating the developments around the towns/villages where sites were located, so that all areas had the benefit of affordable housing being provided in their area, with priority given to areas in which the highest number of housing applicants lived. The strategy that was agreed took account of:

 

            (a)       Towns/villages with sites that could potentially deliver the greatest number of new properties being prioritised in preference to locations where less properties could be delivered; and

 

(b)        Where possible, development packages/phases (i.e. the grouping of sites into one works contract, usually undertaken each year) should generally comprise of sites within the same town/village, in order to reduce the contractor’s site set-up costs.

 

The Assistant Director advised that although the prioritisation of locations had altered slightly in the last 12 months, it was recommended that the Policy on the Prioritisation of Sites, from which future phases, beyond Phase 3, were to be drawn up and be based on the revised ranking table below, with Phase 4 focussing on sites in Ongar and Buckhurst Hill.

 

Group A (Comprising towns/villages with sites that could potentially deliver 10 or more new homes in total)

 

Group A

(Capacity for 10 or more new homes)

Priority Order

 

Location

No. of Housing Applicants

 

No. of Sites

Max. No. of Properties

1

Loughton

459

   16(#)

   52(#)

2

Waltham Abbey

413

18

   71(*)

3

Epping

102

  5

12

4

Ongar

84

  2

11

5

Buckhurst Hill

70

  5

23

6

North Weald

40

  2

16

(*) = Including the Year 1 sites                                (#) = Excluding the sites at The Broadway

 

Group B (Comprising towns/villages with sites that could potentially deliver less than 10 new homes in total)

 

Group B

(Capacity for less than 10 new homes)

Priority

Order

 

Location

No. of Housing Applicants

 

No. of Sites

Max. No. of Properties

1

Roydon

23

   1

   3

2

Nazeing

19

   2

   7

3

Theydon Bois

16

   2

   5

4

High Ongar

13

   1

   2

5

Coopersale

9

   3 

   7 

6

Matching Green/Tye

2

   1

   2

 

With the locations already agreed by the Cabinet Committee for Phases 1 and 2 as Waltham Abbey and Loughton respectively, Phase 3 was identified in the report on the prioritisation of sites agreed by the Cabinet Committee in February 2014 as being Epping, Coopersale and North Weald. The Cabinet committee considered the feasibility studies for those sites at its meeting in December 2014, and all but three sites were considered viable. However, for two of the sites at Queens Road, North Weald and Centre Drive (Site B), Epping the Cabinet Committee asked that these be redrawn to achieve a different mix of properties, which had been presented and agreed in an earlier Agenda item.

 

It was therefore recommended that Phase 3 be made up of 35 new homes  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

49.

Any Other Business

Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, together with paragraphs 6 and 25 of the Council Procedure Rules contained in the Constitution require that the permission of the Chairman be obtained, after prior notice to the Chief Executive, before urgent business not specified in the agenda (including a supplementary agenda of which the statutory period of notice has been given) may be transacted.

 

In accordance with Operational Standing Order 6 (non-executive bodies), any item raised by a non-member shall require the support of a member of the Committee concerned and the Chairman of that Committee. Two weeks’ notice of non-urgent items is required.

Minutes:

The Chairman advised the Cabinet Committee the dates of the next two meetings would be 16 June 2015 and 14 July 2015 at 6.30pm in the Council Chamber.

50.

Exclusion of Public and Press

Exclusion: To consider whether, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press should be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below on grounds that they will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the following paragraph(s) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended) or are confidential under Section 100(A)(2):

 

Agenda Item No

Subject

Exempt Information Paragraph Number

Nil

Nil

Nil

 

The Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006, which came into effect on 1 March 2006, requires the Council to consider whether maintaining the exemption listed above outweighs the potential public interest in disclosing the information. Any member who considers that this test should be applied to any currently exempted matter on this agenda should contact the proper officer at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

 

Confidential Items Commencement: Paragraph 9 of the Council Procedure Rules contained in the Constitution require:

 

(1)        All business of the Council requiring to be transacted in the presence of the press and public to be completed by 10.00 p.m. at the latest.

 

(2)        At the time appointed under (1) above, the Chairman shall permit the completion of debate on any item still under consideration, and at his or her discretion, any other remaining business whereupon the Council shall proceed to exclude the public and press.

 

(3)        Any public business remaining to be dealt with shall be deferred until after the completion of the private part of the meeting, including items submitted for report rather than decision.

 

Background Papers:  Paragraph 8 of the Access to Information Procedure Rules of the Constitution define background papers as being documents relating to the subject matter of the report which in the Proper Officer's opinion:

 

(a)            disclose any facts or matters on which the report or an important part of the report is based;  and

 

(b)        have been relied on to a material extent in preparing the report and does not include published works or those which disclose exempt or confidential information (as defined in Rule 10) and in respect of executive reports, the advice of any political advisor.

 

Inspection of background papers may be arranged by contacting the officer responsible for the item.

Minutes:

The Cabinet Committee noted that there were no items of business on the agenda that necessitated the exclusion of the public and press from the meeting.