To consider the attached report AMED-001-2019/20.
The Service Director for Contract & Regulatory Services presented a progress report on a number of major projects that the Council was managing which involved its assets.
The Director highlighted two further updates for the Cabinet Committee to consider. In relation to the St John’s Road Development in Epping, Whyte, Young & Green had been appointed as consultants to project manage the development and the requirements from the Local Plan had been outlined to them. The project would proceed according to the Masterplan to be agreed by the Cabinet in December 2019. The Council intended to work with Places for People for the possible provision of a new Leisure Centre, and with prospective providers for a small cinema.
With respect to North Weald Airfield, the Brief had been sent out to five Masterplanning organisations, with responses expected by early July. The Council would also ensure the North Weald Airfield Masterplan would blend with the North Weald Bassett Masterplan.
The Cabinet Committee reminded the Officers present that the Portfolio title had been amended from Asset Management & Economic Development to Commercial & Regulatory Services to match the name of the Service Directorate.
In response to questions from members of the Cabinet Committee, the Service Director stated that, in relation to the Landmark Building, the Co-Operative had discontinued negotiations as the space on offer was the wrong size. The other part of the site had been reassigned to a different use class of D2 and the Council was currently negotiating with a yoga studio.
In respect of the St John’s Road Development, full planning permission would be sought straight away, rather than outline permission and then full planning permission. The Council had yet to be advised of the application date, but it was expected to be in the Spring of 2020. The Council had worked with Whyte, Young and Green in the past, who were in the process of drawing up a broad timeline for the project; the first major milestone would be the agreement of the Masterplan by the Cabinet in December 2019. The Leader of Council reiterated that good progress was being made with the St John’s Road Development, with planning permission being sought for the whole site, and asked whether Epping Town Council had been kept informed of progress? The Director reassured the Cabinet Committee that the Council had been in communication with the Town Clerk, and a formal meeting with the Town Council was being arranged.
Cllr Lion highlighted that there had been major issues with car parking and access at the Epping Forest Shopping Park, and enquired what the next stages to improve the situation was. The Service Director acknowledged that there had been major problems at the Shopping Park during the Christmas period, and also from local workers using the car park at the Shopping Park. Restrictions had now been introduced in the Car Park, which had helped to ease this problem. Cllr Lion added that there was major congestion at the Shopping Park at weekends, which then backed up onto the surrounding roads.
Cllr Plumber pointed out that the report had made no mention of any previous discussions to reduce car use and protect the local biodiversity. The Service Director stated that the report only provided a general update on the progress with the different projects, hence there was provably a lack of detail for each of the projects, but this was something that could be considered for future reports. The Chairman also emphasised that the emerging Local Plan would also give rise to a number of such policy decisions. The Leader of Council informed the Cabinet Committee that the Highways issues surrounding the Shopping Park had been raised at the Local Highways Panel, and any concerns should also be taken up with Cllr Mohindra who was the County Council member for the area.
(1) That the progress made to date with the Council’s Asset Management & Development projects be noted.
Reasons for Decision:
To comply with the Cabinet Committee’s previous request to monitor the development of the Council’s property assets on a regular basis.
Other Options Considered and Rejected:
None, as the report is for information only.