(Service Director – Commercial & Regulatory) To consider the attached report (AMED-005-2019/20).
The Service Director for Commercial & Regulatory Services presented a progress report on a number of major projects that the Council was managing which involved its property assets.
The Service Director highlighted the following points:
(a) Roof leaks had been continuing at the Epping Forest Shopping Park, and an independent roof survey had stated that this was due to incorrect installation. The Section 278 highways works had been signed off by the County Council, and funding had been approved to undertake a study into the car park arrangements at the site.
(b) A structural issue had arisen in one area of the Oakwood Hill Industrial Estate, which was being reviewed by the Facilities team.
(c) Pyrles Lane Nursery was currently under offer to be sold to Durkan Developments, and the existing Nursery was due to relocate to the depot at Town Mead by the end of June 2020.
(d) Initial design work had now been completed for the St John’s Road site in Epping, and Cabinet had agreed to transfer the site to Qualis Commercial, subject to a full business case being agreed by the Cabinet.
(e) Work had commenced on the Master Plan for land at North Weald Airfield, and negotiations had resumed with the Essex & Herts Air Ambulance Trust. A meeting had been held with Saunders Market, who would be providing the Market in future, to discuss their additional requirements; Saunders was now reviewing the position.
(f) For the Landmark Building in Loughton, leases had been agreed for six of the units, however there had been little interest up to now in the seventh unit. For the unit occupied by the Mediterranean Restaurant, Environmental Health Officers were liaising with the tenant to resolve noise and odour issues.
(g) The site at Roundhills had been fenced off and access points blocked. The Cabinet had also decided to transfer this site to Qualis Commercial, subject to a full business case being agreed by the Cabinet.
Councillor S Kane highlighted that the car parking at the Epping Forest Shopping Park had been discussed at the recent meeting of the Local Highways Panel. The Service Director stated that the review was due to start in a few weeks, and would be examining how to prevent the use of the car park by non-shoppers, but the primary focus would be on the traffic flows within the car park as there was only one entrance and one exit. The reconfiguration of the car park would be examined and a report would be compiled in due course. Councillor S Kane suggested that the entrance should be as far away from the junction as possible to alleviate traffic congestion; the Service Director reassured the Cabinet Committee that a possible new entrance at the Seedbank Centre would be examined, which would be further away from Langston Road.
In response to other questions from the Cabinet Committee, the Service Director stated that it was intended to submit the Master Plan report for North Weald Airfield to the Cabinet in June. The development at Roundhills in Waltham Abbey could be progressed relatively quickly, and it was intended to start work after the governance arrangements for the Qualis group of companies had been finalised.
(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.