Agenda, decisions and minutes

Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee
Monday, 29th January, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

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

Items
No. Item

17.

Substitute Members

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

Minutes:

The Cabinet Committee noted that Councillor C Whitbread substituted for Councillor J Philip.

18.

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.

19.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 133 KB

(Director of Governance) To confirm the minutes of the last meeting of the Cabinet Committee held on 12 December 2016.

Decision:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2016 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

Minutes:

That the minutes of the meeting held on 12 December 2016 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

20.

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 Cabinet Committee noted that there was no other urgent business for consideration.

21.

DELIVERY OF FUTURE PHASES OF THE HOUSE-BUILDING PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 130 KB

(Director of Communities) To consider the attached report, CHB-001-2017/18.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)     That, following the decision made by East Thames to terminate its contract after 4-years as the Council’s Development Agent, the Cabinet Committee noted the approach now being taken to deliver the future phases of the house-building programme; and

 

(2)     That the contract with Pellings LLP, who were currently in contract with East Thames and (for which the Council has a Collateral Warranty in place) be novated to Epping Forest District Council and the existing building contracts with the Contractors for Phases 1, 2 and 3 be amended to remove reference to East Thames.

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Housing Property & Development) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee. He advised in September 2017, East Thames, who were the Council’s Development Agents, gave notice of their intention to invoke Schedule 8 (Exit Management Plan) of the Housing Development Agency Services Agreement that they no longer wished to act as Development Agents on behalf of the Council. Whilst a 3-month exit management term was set out in the Agreement, East Thames agreed to extend this term to 6-months, ending on 9 March 2018, to enable as smooth a hand-over as possible.

 

The Council have appointed a Senior Project Management Officer, based on a temporary 3-year fixed term contract to work on some of the Project Management functions previously undertaken by East Thames. This was being funded from savings that had been identified through the withdrawal of East Thames.

 

The Council now had an opportunity to review its approach, based on its experiences over the last 4-years, and to put in place arrangements that could deliver a more efficient service and if possible de-risk some of the aspects of the programme that have so far resulted in additional costs across schemes that were on site. However, due to the relatively short Exit Management Plan, it was necessary to act quickly taking account of the fact any future appointments would require an EU procurement exercise, which was a lengthy process.

 

Listed below are some of the problems the Council has faced on previous phases, which have led to delays or additional costs to the Council:

 

Ground Contamination

 

Issue – Across each site, soil surveys had been undertaken to give an idea of contamination for contractors to base their risk and price accordingly in their tenders. The level of detail had resulted in that risk being understated and Contractors claiming additional costs and time where the contamination was later found to be more extensive. This was particularly the case for Phases 1 & 2.

 

Way Forward – To undertake a more extensive set of soil surveys and to consult with the Council’s Planning Officers at the earliest opportunity to agree a method statement and soil contamination remediation plan that would satisfy the Planning Conditions allowing these conditions to be discharged prior to the Contractor submitting their costs.

 

Drainage

 

Issue – Drainage design was the responsibility of the Contractor under a Design and Build contract. However, connection to local sewers was not always practical due to invert depths, thus resulting in local pumping stations or sewerage treatment stations on sites. This was not only more expensive but could lead to more expensive on-going maintenance liabilities.

 

Way Forward – To appoint an EU compliant Framework Agreement of Consultant Civil Engineers to undertake a detailed sewer investigation and to fully design the sewerage strategy for each site in advance of appointing the Contractor. This would be done in conjunction with any soil contamination remediation plan.

 

Foundation Design

 

Issue – Foundation design was the responsibility of the Contractor under a Design and Build Contract. However,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

PROGRESS REPORT FOR PHASES 1-6 pdf icon PDF 133 KB

(Director of Communities) To consider the attached report, CHB-002-2017/18.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the contents of this Progress Report on Phases 1 - 6 of the Council House-building Programme be noted, and presented to the Cabinet in line with the Terms of Reference.

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Housing Property & Development) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee. He advised that the report was for noting only and set out the progress that had been made across phases 1-3 and future phases 4-6 of the Housebuilding programme.

 

Phase 1

 

Further to the determination of the contract with Broadway Construction Limited, a contract was awarded to P A Finlay and Company Limited to complete the works on Phase 1 as approved by the Cabinet Committee on the 22 September 2016.

 

The Phase 1 recovery work was completed on the 31 October 2017 with the last two homes on the Red Cross site in Waltham Abbey being handed over and occupied. The homes built are now in the defects liability period (a 2 year period where the Contractor retained responsibility for any contractual defects reported). The defects liability period for Phase 1 will end on the 31 October 2019.

 

The original contract with Broadway Construction Limited was let on the 27 October 2014 with completion expected on the 13 November 2015. With the delays that built up under the contract with Broadway Construction, together with the Council determining the contract and the subsequent procurement of a new contract with P A Finlay and Company Limited meant an overall delay of 102 weeks on the original anticipated handovers.

 

The determination of the contract with Broadway Construction Limited also led to a significant increase in costs with the works costs rising from £2,331,170.02 to £5,852,557.98. Overall, the recovery project was 66% more expensive than the original contract. The increased costs were mainly due to remediation works, additional drainage works and utility works. This can be seen as the premium paid for appointing a contractor to take on another contractor’s unfinished work and all the risks associated with the project.

 

Notice of Adjudication from Broadway Construction Limited

 

On 22 November 2017 the Council received a notice of Adjudication, which was referred by Broadway Construction Ltd (BCL). The dispute concerns the termination of the contract by the Council on 1st June 2016. BCL maintains and claims that the termination was wrongful and constituted a repudiatory breach of contract.

 

In April 2016, the Council served a default notice on BCL claiming that BCL was not preceding with the contract works regularly and diligently. Later on 1 June terminated the Contract on the ground that BCL had continued with the default specified in its notice served in April 2016. BCL assert that this was contrary to the true facts and progress of the works on the Project, and that they do not accept the validity of the default notice or the termination of the Contract.

 

BCL have therefore given notice to refer the dispute to adjudication in accordance with the Contract.

 

BCL are seeking the following relief and decision from the Adjudicator:

 

·          That the Council wrongfully terminated the Contract;

 

·          That the Council was liable for repudiatory breach of contract;

 

·          That the Council was liable to pay Broadway the costs, damages and expenses that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

FINANCIAL POSITION pdf icon PDF 95 KB

(Director of Communities) To consider the attached report, CHB-003-2017/18.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Housing Property & Development) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee. He 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.

 

The Cabinet Committee regularly received detailed financial reports covering all financial issues relating to the Housebuilding Programme. The Financial Reports attached to agenda item 9 at Appendix 2, 3 and 4 set out the current financial position with the various aspects of the Housebuilding Programme.

 

The Cabinet Committee noted that due to programme spending, the Council are forecasting that no 1-4-1 receipts need be given back this year. It was also worth noting that if future spend was consistent with the forecast budget the Council should be able to utilise all 1-4-1 receipts over the lifecycle of the project.

 

Resolved:

 

(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 had been received; when it was required to be spent; the actual expenditure to date; and the future planned expenditure profile (Appendix 2 of the agenda);

 

(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 3 of the agenda) and;

 

(c)         The expenditure profile that reflects the house-building programme (Appendix 4 of the agenda).

 

 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.

24.

NEW DEVELOPMENT SITES pdf icon PDF 117 KB

(Director of Communities) To consider the attached report, CHB-004-2017/18.

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Housing Property & Development) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee. He advised In July 2012 the Cabinet approved a list of potential development sites, made up of a primary and reserve list, which would make up the Council Housebuilding Programme. At that time, it was agreed that any further development assessments would be undertaken over time by officers of:

 

(a)        All other garage sites comprising 6 or less garages;

 

(b)        Any further garage sites that started to have vacancies with no waiting list; and

 

(c)        Any Council-owned land on housing sites considered to be surplus to requirement.

 

At that time it was also agreed that further reports would be submitted to the Cabinet in order to consider whether or not these sites should be added to either the Primary List or Reserve List.

 

In practice, this process could be amended to free up valuable time for the Cabinet by delegating authority to the Director of Communities to undertake feasibility studies and viability studies on any new site that may be identified and to present them direct to the Cabinet Committee. These would be presented in the same way as other sites have been in the past, whereby local Ward Members were invited to participate in the discussion.

 

Should the Cabinet Committee then agree to proceed with the development site based on the feasibility study as presented, then it would be necessary to seek an amendment to the Cabinet Committee Terms of Reference, where it was currently only able to consider and sign-off development appraisals and financial appraisals for sites previously identified by the Cabinet as having development potential and that could be included within the Council’s Housebuilding Programme.

 

It was therefore recommended that a recommendation be made to the Cabinet, through the minutes of this meeting, that:

 

·        the Cabinet delegates authority to the Director of Communities to identify new Council House-building development sites and to undertake feasibility studies and viability studies; and

 

·        the Cabinet Committee Terms of Reference be amended to allow the Cabinet Committee to agree any new development sites that may be added to the House-building programme.

 

The Cabinet Committee expressed concerns that underused garage sites were a magnet for antisocial behaviour, although some of the sites were relatively small it was still worth considering these sites to provide affordable homes for local people.

 

The Cabinet Committee asked officers to also look for larger sites in the district as they felt that building works would happen quicker on a larger site.

 

Recommendation to Cabinet:

 

(1)             That a recommendation be made to the Cabinet to delegate authority to the Director of Communities to identify new Council House-building development sites and to undertake feasibility studies and viability studies, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder, which would then be presented to the Cabinet Committee for consideration; and

 

(2)        That a recommendation be made to the Cabinet to amend the Cabinet Committee Terms of Reference to allow the Cabinet Committee to agree any new development sites that may be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

CHANGE OF NAME AT QUEENS ROAD, NORTH WEALD DEVELOPMENT pdf icon PDF 107 KB

(Director of Communities) To consider the attached report, CHB-005-2017/18.

Decision:

(1)     That, following a request by North Weald Parish Council, the new development to the rear of 9 - 19 Queens Road, North Weald, previously named Elizabeth Court, be renamed Cyril Hawkins Close; and

 

(2)     That formal application be submitted to the Director of Neighbourhoods for the above name and numbering change, in accordance with the Council’s Street Naming and Numbering Policy.

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Housing Property & Development) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee. He advised that he had received a request from North Weald Parish Council to change the name of the new development to the rear of 9-19 Queens Road, North Weald from Elizabeth Court to Cyril Hawkins Close. He explained that Cyril Hawkins had passed away and he was a long standing Chairman and Parish Councillor of North Weald Parish Council.

 

The Cabinet Committee noted that the late Cyril Hawkins was a great servant to the Parish of North Weald and recognised that he had been actively involved with helping Council Officers to negotiate with UK Power over the power cable diversions that were necessary to bring this site forward.

 

Decision:

 

(1)     That, following a request by North Weald Parish Council, the new development to the rear of 9 -19 Queens Road, North Weald, previously named Elizabeth Court, be renamed Cyril Hawkins Close; and

 

(2)     That formal application be submitted to the Director of Neighbourhoods for the above name and numbering change, in accordance with the Council’s Street Naming and Numbering Policy.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

Street naming (or re-naming) of sites to be constructed under the Council House-building Programme was set out in the Terms of Reference as a responsibility for the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee.

 

The Queens Road, North Weald development site has already been agreed by the Cabinet Committee in December 2016 to be named Elizabeth Close. However, the Council had received a request from the North Weald Parish Council to rename the street after the former long-standing Chairman, Councillor Cyril Hawkins, who sadly passed away last year.

 

Other Options Considered and Rejected:

 

To retain Elizabeth Close as the street name for the development, which had already been agreed by the Cabinet Committee.

26.

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

 

12

 

Request to purchase a

potential Council housing

development site – Whitehills Road, Loughton

 

1 and 3

 

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.

 

Background Papers:  Article 17 - 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 and in respect of executive reports, the advice of any political advisor.

 

The Council will make available for public inspection for four years after the date of the meeting one copy of each of the documents on the list of background papers.

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

That the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below on the grounds that they would involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972:

 

Agenda                                                                       Exempt Information

Item No.                      Subject                                   Paragraph Number

 

    12                            Request to purchase a                        1 & 3

                                    Potential Council housing

                                    Development site –

                                    Whitehills Road, Loughton

27.

REQUEST TO PURCHASE POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT SITE AT WHITEHILLS ROAD, LOUGHTON

(Director of Communities) To consider the attached report, CHB-006-2017/18.

Decision:

That the unsolicited offer received to purchase the Council’s garage site in Whitehills Road, Loughton (currently included within the Council’s Housebuilding Programme with planning permission for two 2-bedroom bungalows) be refused and that the Council continues to develop the site for affordable rented housing as part of the Council’s Housebuilding Programme.

Minutes:

The Director of Communities presented a report to the Cabinet Committee. He advised that the Council had received an unsolicited offer to purchase a garage site in Whitehills Road, Loughton. The garage site was included in the Council’s Housebuilding Programme, Phases 4-6 and planning permission had been sought and received for two 2-bedroom bungalows. Members were asked to consider the offer received.

 

Decision:

 

That the unsolicited offer received to purchase the Council’s garage site in Whitehills Road, Loughton (currently included within the Council’s Housebuilding Programme with planning permission for two 2-bedroom bungalows) be refused and that the Council continues to develop the site for affordable rented housing as part of the Council’s Housebuilding Programme.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

An unsolicited offer had been received to purchase the development site, which the Cabinet Committee needed to consider.

 

Other Options Considered and Rejected:

 

(1)        To seek competitive tenders for the site on the open market.

(2)        To accept the offer received.