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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms A, B and C, Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood

Contact: Jenny Smith 

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Items
No. Item

53.

Communications and Apologies

(a)       Communications (if any) relating to business on the agenda.

 

(b)          Apologies for absence.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Members and Officers to the meeting and advised that, in accordance with normal procedure, the meeting was being webcast.

 

The Chair announced that he had agreed to accept a late urgent item of business, The Director’s Arms Public House, which he would take in part II of the agenda at item 12.  He advised that the report involved a key decision which had not been included in the forward plan, the reason for urgency being that there was a two to three week window of opportunity only for the Council to secure the leasehold interest in this site.  Copies of the report had been tabled and would be collected at the conclusion of the meeting.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Clapper.

 

54.

Declarations of Interest (If any)

Members are required to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests they or their spouse/partner have in any matter which is to be considered at this meeting.  Members must also declare any other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests they have in any matter to be considered at this meeting. The responsibility for declaring an interest rests solely with the member concerned.

 

Members must clearly state to the meeting the existence and nature of any disclosable pecuniary interest, other pecuniary interest or non‑pecuniary interest and the agenda item(s) to which it/they apply.

 

Disclosable Pecuniary Interests are prescribed by the Relevant Authorities (Disclosable Pecuniary Interests) Regulations 2012 as follows;

 

Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation

Any employment, office, trade, profession or vocation carried on for profit or gain.

 

 

 

Sponsorship

Any payment or provision of any other financial benefit (other than from the relevant authority) made or provided within the relevant period in respect of any expenses incurred by a member in carrying out duties as a member, or towards your election expenses. This includes any payment or financial benefit from a trade union within the meaning of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992.

 

 

Contracts

Any contract which is made between the relevant person (or a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest) and the relevant authority— (a) under which goods or services are to be provided or works are to be executed; and (b) which has not been fully discharged.

 

 

Land

Any beneficial interest in land which is within the area of the relevant authority.

 

 

Licences

Any licence (alone or jointly with others) to occupy land in the area of the relevant authority for a month or longer.

 

Corporate tenancies

Any tenancy where (to the member’s knowledge) - (a) the landlord is the relevant authority; and (b) the tenant is a body in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest.

 

 

Securities

Any beneficial interest in securities of a body where - (a) that body (to the member’s knowledge) has a place of business or land in the area of the relevant authority; and (b) either (i) the total nominal value of the securities exceeds £25,000 or one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that body; or
(ii) if the share capital of that body is of more than one class, the total nominal value of the shares of any one class in which the relevant person has a beneficial interest exceeds one hundredth of the total issued share capital of that class.

 

In cases of disclosable pecuniary interest, Members must withdraw from the meeting room while the matter is being considered.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Choudhury declared a personal business interest in item 6.1, Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF) Bids, as a Governor of Bushey Heath Primary School, and his intention to withdraw from the meeting for this item.

 

Councillor Morris declared a similar interest in relation to a potential recipient of funding under item 6.1 and an interest in item 7.1, Executive Quarterly Review of Elstree Studios as a Council-appointed Director of the Board.

 

Councillor Quilty declared an interest in item 6.1 as a Council-appointed trustee of Shenley Park Trust.

 

Councillor Bright declared an interest in item 7.1 as the Council’s appointed Chairman of the Elstree Studios Board of Directors.

 

55.

Speeches by Non-Executive Members

Non-executive members attending the meeting are reminded that a non-executive member may speak for a maximum of three minutes on any item on the agenda, with a maximum of five members per item (no more than two from any one Group).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair advised that the usual arrangements for speeches by non‑Executive Members applied at this meeting.

 

56.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 127 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 14 November 2018.

 

No discussion shall take place upon the minutes, except upon their accuracy.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 14 November 2018 were approved and signed as a true record.

 

57.

Key Decisions

Additional documents:

57.1

Community Infrastructure Levy Instalment Policy pdf icon PDF 117 KB

The Executive is asked to agree the CIL Instalment Policy, at Appendix B to the report, with effect from 1 January 2019 and that the CIL Instalment Policy is published on the Council’s website before 1 January 2019.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     the report be noted;

 

2.     the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) Instalment Policy, as set out in Appendix B to the report, be agreed with effect from 1 January 2019; and 

 

3.     the CIL Instalment Policy be published on the Council’s website before 1 January 2019.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

          Adopting of such a policy, which allowed developers to pay CIL in instalments, would avoid the necessity for those seeking phased payments to enter into a legal agreement with the Council, as was presently the case where instalments had been agreed.  This would result in the faster recovery of CIL monies and their redistribution towards infrastructure provision and improvements within the Borough.

 

Efficiency savings for the Council were thereby anticipated given that the CIL recovery process, where the liable party was unwilling or unable to pay, could be protracted and potentially involve multiple challenges, appeals and warnings before prosecution.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The decision could have been made not to adopt a CIL instalment policy at the current time.  However, as this would have failed to overcome the continuing problems with CIL collection and potential lengthy legal agreements, this option was not supported.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       Responding to a question from the Community Safety and Performance Portfolio Holder, the Head of Legal and Democratic Services confirmed that, in the event of a partial CIL payment, the payment would still be owed as the liability ran with the land, meaning that a charge would be placed on the land and a Stop Notice issued accordingly.

 

(Action:  Principal Planning Officer)

 

 

Councillor Choudhury left the meeting for the duration of the following item.

 

57.2

Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF) Bids (smaller) pdf icon PDF 188 KB

The Executive is asked to consider the recommendations of the Community Infrastructure Levy Investment Panel (CILIP) on the bids received relating to the smaller scale projects reviewed by the Panel at its October meeting.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     the content of the report be noted, including the details outlined in Appendix A which summarise all of the small scale bids received through the recent Community Infrastructure Fund (CIF) bid process;

 

2.      funding for the 14 small scale Community Infrastructure Fund bids: 

      BU1 – Bushey and Oxhey 64th Scouts; BU4 – Bushey Heath Primary   School; BU6 - Bushey Meads School; BU10 – Reverley Lodge;

      PB4 – Potters Bar Football Club; PB6 – Tilbury Nursery at Potters Bar       United Reformed Church; PB9 – Dame Alice Owens School;

      AL3 – Hertsmere Jewish Primary School; AL5 – 1st Radlett Scout Group;       SH1 – Shenley Park Trust; OB1 – Noah’s Ark Hospice;

      EB1 – Borehamwood Children’s Centre; EB2 – Borehamwood Wellbeing       Centre; and EB16 – Community Hertsmere (Windsor Hall), totalling       £244,352.90, as detailed in Report EX/18/55 and recommended by the       CIL Investment Panel, be approved; and

 

3.      the funding of small scale CIF bids:  BU5 – Bushey Heath Primary School;       BU7 and BU8 – Bushey Meads School; BU9 – Queens School;

      BU11 – Reverley Lodge; BU12 – Sacred Heart School; PB2 – Ladbrooke       JMI School; PB3 – Cranborne Primary School; AL1 – Aldenham Country       Park; AL2 – Aldenham War Memorial; SH2 – Shenley Primary School;       EB3 – Cowley Hill School; EB4 – Woodlands Primary School;

      EB5 – Elstree University Technical College; EB7 – Farriers Way       Community Centre; EB8 – St Teresa’s School; EB9 – Summerswood School; EB12 – Theobald Centre Medical Practice; and

      EB13 – Community Hertsmere be not approved for the reasons set out in       Appendix A to the report.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

National legislation stipulated that CIL monies should be spent on improvements to infrastructure, including its replacement, operation and maintenance to support development which had taken place within the local area. 

 

The Council’s CIL Panel was tasked with considering the bids received and ascertaining which projects should receive funding in the light of national and local level legislation as well as the Council’s own guidelines, officer recommendations and input from external and internal consultees.  The recommendations of the Panel were now presented to the Executive, in accordance with the agreed processes, for a final decision on funding pledges to be made. 

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

          An alternative option was to spend no CIL monies at the current time.  However, this option was not supported due to the recent relaunch of the bidding process and the fact that a number of strong applications had been received from local groups and organisations. 

 

Another option was to endorse a higher number of bids than recommended.  However, this was not supported as the Council needed to ensure that monies were allocated fairly and in accordance with the process previously agreed by the Executive, having regard to the agreed assessment criteria.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       A non-Executive Member welcomed the benefit to the local community but questioned whether CIL funding was intended for this purpose.  He pointed out that there was already a process in place  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.2

57.3

Refuse and Recycling Vehicle Procurement pdf icon PDF 181 KB

The Executive is asked to approve the procurement of six new 26-tonne refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) to be funded from the Council’s earmarked vehicle replacement reserve.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     six new 26-tonne refuse collection vehicles (RCVs) be procured, to be funded from the earmarked vehicle replacement reserve; and

 

2.     that the residual value arising from the sale of vehicles be offset against the purchase price of new vehicles.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The decision to procure new vehicles was made to resolve increasing problems with the Council’s current fleet as a result of its age.  Regular breakdowns caused service disruption, necessitated hire vehicles, incurred additional staffing and overtime costs and had an adverse impact on staff morale.  In addition, due to their age, the contract maintenance costs for these vehicles fell into the highest cost bracket. 

 

The age of the existing vehicles also meant that they were becoming less efficient in terms of fuel consumption and were therefore having an adverse impact on the Council’s carbon footprint.  The replacement vehicles conformed with the Euro 6 standard which was introduced in September 2015 with the aim of reducing levels of harmful car and van exhaust emissions.

 

Due to the high visibility of the refuse and recycling service and its wide use by Hertsmere residents, having an up-to-date fleet of vehicles was important in maintaining the Council’s reputation of delivering a high quality level of service overall.  Members noted that recyclable collections were also a statutory requirement and that, from the year 2020, the Government had stipulated that local authorities should achieve a minimum recycling rate of 50%; the Council’s current performance averaging between 43% and 45%.

               

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

                The decision might have been made to buy second-hand vehicles of one to two years of age rather than new vehicles.  However, as exploring this option had identified very few vehicles in the market less than three to four years old, this option was not regarded as a long term viable solution.

 

Another alternative was to hire the vehicles.  However, this option was not supported due to the prohibitive costs involved.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       The Finance and Property Portfolio Holder pointed out that the cost of the new vehicles at £1.1m was comfortably accommodated within the current vehicle replacement reserve of £1.7m which was good news for the Council.

(Action:  Head of Street Scene Services)

 

58.

Non-Key Decisions

Additional documents:

58.1

Executive Quarterly Review of Elstree Studios pdf icon PDF 175 KB

The report provides a review of Quarter 2 for 2018/19 (July to September 2018) which is a requirement under the Governance Agreement between the Council and the Elstree Studios.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that the report be noted.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

Under the Governance Agreement, the Executive was required to review the financial performance, risk elements and business opportunities that faced Elstree Studios.

 

The report provided the updated position for 2018/19 as at Quarter 2 (July to September 2018) to enable the Executive to carry out its delegated authority on behalf of the Council.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

As the report provided an update on progress to date, there were no alternative options.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       Responding to a number of questions from the non-Executive Member present, the Chief Executive clarified that the report was a formula-driven regular update covering financial performance and business protection, risk assessment and business opportunities matters (report paragraph 5.2 refers).  He advised that, whilst detailed Elstree Studios plans and projects were generally not made public for reasons of commercial sensitivity, any decisions would be brought to the Executive in part I of the meeting.  In terms of the recruitment of Non-Executive Directors (NEDs), he was pleased to report that there had been a very healthy response with twelve good applications received for the role.  In addition, the Chief Executive advised that feedback on the training for Council-appointed Directors had been very positive.  He added that plans were in place to develop ongoing Director training for all the Council’s arm’s length companies which the Constitution and Member Development Panel considered should be compulsory along with the provision of refresher training where needed.  In terms of the lease completion (report paragraph 6.2 refers), the Head of Legal and Democratic Services clarified that the new 30-year lease had been backdated to 1 April 2017 to avoid any short-term or long-term issues.

 

·       Members of the Executive emphasised that the success of Elstree Studios and its management accounted for 22% of council tax, without which council tax would need to be raised significantly or services reduced accordingly.  The Finance and Property Portfolio Holder advised that a recent report had listed the Council as the second highest authority in the county financially and the 32nd across all authorities in the country and that this was largely due to the success of the Studios.

 

·       The Chair concurred that Elstree Studios was a big success story for the Council and a brand name to be proud of with a good deal of potential for future development on the site.  He advised that a report on the appointment of NEDs would be coming to the Executive and Council in the new year.

 

(Action:  Chief Executive)

 

59.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Executive is scheduled to take place at 6pm on Wednesday, 16 January 2019 at the Civic Offices, Elstree Way, Borehamwood.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Noted that the next meeting of the Executive was scheduled to be held on Wednesday, 16 January 2019 at 6.00pm.

 

In closing part I of the meeting, the Chairman wished everyone, including all the Council’s local residents, a Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

 

60.

Exclusion of the Public

Recommendation that, under S100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I, Schedule 12A to the said Act:-

 

Part II Agenda Item                                Paragraphs in Schedule 12A

 

1.       KEY DECISIONS

 

1.1     None.

 

 

2.       NON-KEY DECISIONS

 

          2.1     Bad Debt Write-Offs                                        1, 2 & 3

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED that, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Part I, Schedule 12A to the said Act:-

 

Part II Agenda Item                                  Paragraphs in Schedule 12A

 

1.       KEY DECISIONS

 

None.                              

 

 

2.       NON-KEY DECISIONS

 

2.1     Bad Debt Write-Offs                                           1, 2 & 3

 

 

3.       OTHER URGENT CONFIDENTIAL BUSINESS

                             

3.1     The Director’s Arms Public House                              3

 

61.

Bad Debt Write-Offs

Report of Officers.

 

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     the bad debts, individually in excess of £5k and amounting to £107,323 in total, as summarised in paragraph 5.6, tables 3 to 7 and detailed in section 6 of the report, be written off; and

 

2.     it be noted that the financial impact to Hertsmere of the write-offs in (1) above, based on its share of those bad debts, amounts to £51,321, as summarised in the report, the write-offs to be funded from the bad debt provision set up for this purpose.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

Writing off debts that were no longer collectable, ie. debts that had been irrecoverable for a number of years with little prospect of future recovery, was regarded as prudent financial management, as recommended by the Council’s external auditors.  It also ensured that the Council’s Financial Statements reflected the true position and did not overstate the expected income receivable. 

 

With regard to the particular cases addressed in the report, Members noted that all reasonable steps to recover the debts had been taken but the possibility of recovery was remote.  It was recognised however that, if circumstances changed and the Council was once again able to collect these debts, then they would be written back.

         

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The Executive could have taken the decision not to write off the debts detailed in the report.  However, as there was little or no chance of recovery, the Council’s financial statements would show an overstated debt position.  This option was therefore not supported.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       The non-Executive Member present expressed support for the report’s recommendations and commended Officers’ efforts in seeking to recover the debts.

 

(Action:  Treasury Manager)

 

62.

Urgent Item of Business: The Director's Arms Public House

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     the acquisition of the leasehold interest in the property, as outlined in report section 6, be approved, to be provided from the £2m emergency funding available for investment opportunities (as agreed by the Council on 26 April 2017, Report C/17/15 refers), in order to compete and secure investment opportunities in the land and property market under delegated authority; and

 

2.     the Council be recommended to approve the additional funding, as outlined in section 6, for demolition, security and planning requirements in relation to the site, to be funded from the Innovation and Investment Fund reserve and that, subject to (1) above, the Emergency Fund be replenished back to £2m to be provided from revenue funds, as also outlined in paragraph 6 of the report.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The Council was seeking to develop the site and had been working on a two‑phase development scheme of the whole site with phase two due to commence potentially after the expiry of the lease in 16 years.

 

Following negotiation on the lease, an offer from the Council had been accepted which would allow the Council to improve greatly on its current proposed scheme to develop the adjacent garage sites in isolation.  This would allow the Council to maximise the site potential through economies of scale achieved by the overall development rather than in two phases over the course of the next 16 years.

 

In addition, the acquisition would enable the Council to acquire land for future housing development whilst providing a greater return on its investment than currently received.  The decisions would also reduce liabilities to the Council  in terms of security, squatters, vandalism, antisocial behaviour and rates.

 

In accordance with advice from the Planning Department, Members agreed that a holistic scheme for the site was preferable to a phased development in terms of scale massing and design.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The decision could have been taken not to acquire the leasehold interest and forego the opportunity to commence redevelopment sooner than the expiry of the lease.  However, as this would have meant a lost opportunity to increase the return on the Council’s investment and deliver much need housing in the area, this option was not supported.

 

Another option was to dispose of the Council’s freehold interest in the sites and allow a developer to develop the site and benefit from the profit.  However, since this option would not fully realise the Council’s objective of financial self‑sustainability as any future revenue return would be limited to the capital gain, this was not supported.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       Councillor Morris declared a non-pecuniary interest as he had bought his own property from the developer in question.

 

·       The non-Executive Member present at the meeting said that he was very happy to support the report’s recommendations which would involve a development of the Council’s choice and which should be comprised overwhelmingly in his view of affordable social housing.  The Chair said that he was fully supportive  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.