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Agenda and minutes

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

Contact: Ms Rehill, Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

172.

Membership

Substitutes are not permitted to this Committee, unless a Member of the Committee has been unable to attend meetings for a period of three months or longer.

Minutes:

No substitutes are allowed for this Committee.

173.

Communications and apologies

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

 

(b) Apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence received from Councillors Dobin and Hoeksma.

174.

Declarations of interests (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:

 

a.     Employment, office, trade, profession or vocation

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

 

b.     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.

 

c.     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.

 

d.     Land

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

 

e.     Licences

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

 

f.      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.

 

g.     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.

Minutes:

Councillor Choudhury declared a personal interest in item 15 as he was a Council-appointed representative on the Elstree Film Studios Board.

175.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 41 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 17 June 2013.

 

In accordance with the Constitution no discussion shall take place upon the minutes, except upon their accuracy.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 17 June 2013 be approved and signed as a correct record.

176.

Financial Strategy: challenges, drivers and enablers

To receive a VERBAL presentation.

Minutes:

Portfolioholder Councillor Graham, the Director of Resources and the Head of Finance were in attendance for this item.

 

A presentation, attached as an appendix to these minutes, was made and a number of points arose, including:

-        The elements of the budget which the Council alone had control over were the net budget, gross income and gross expenditure.

-        The Council’s Resource Requirement relied upon achieving the New Homes Bonus over the five year period. If the homes were not built or the Government changed the Bonus regime, the Council could need upto £2m to balance the budget. Likewise if efficiency savings were not achieved in 2014, the budget gap would be £505k. Officers advised that the estimates for the Bonus were calculated on a prudent basis and would not be met only if the Government changed the Bonus criteria.

-        The cost base needed to reduce by 5% in the next 5 years. If the New Homes Bonus was not achieved, the reduction would be 15%. If reserves were used to plug the gap in year 1, then the budgetary gap would be £782k.

-        If Council Tax was frozen for a fourth year, the Government would give 1% of the Tax (£67k) but this would not be consolidated. A Tax increase of 1.95% would be better value, especially if collection rates could be increased.

-        The Council had submitted three bids to the Access to Transformation Funds (Civic Offices extension for the Police, partnership working) and was awaiting the results.

-        The Council needed to sweat its assets. Rather than selling land, the Committee favoured developing it for a higher return. The Committee was advised that the funds raised from the Battlers Green Garages sale had been used to fund investments at other sites. In the past the Council had tended to sell land, today the aim was to build and then either manage or sell the units. The Committee noted that selling generated capital receipts that had to be ringfenced, whereas building and renting generated both capital and revenue. The Committee considered it short-term to sell assets given the healthy state of the reserves. There should be little incentive to sell assets, as the Council did not need to increase its capital funds but did need to plug its revenue gaps. A panel should be set up to look at how the Council could maximise its assets to increase income and an Acquisition Strategy should be devised.

-        Initiatives such as the shared internal audit service had worked well but more radical partnerships with other councils should be looked at. The Committee was uncertain of the value of amalgamating with other authorities, given that they had less money than Hertsmere.

-        The Committee suggested that whilst it was sensible to look for efficiencies within the larger budgets, the smaller spending areas should also be looked at, as small funding pots tended to be inefficient.

-        The Committee favoured new build that included retail space on the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 176.

177.

Regeneration Update

Councillors Morris and Quilty will be in attendance to give a VERBAL progress update on regeneration activity.

Minutes:

Councillor Morris updated the meeting on the work he had done so far on regeneration. In the past few months he had held numerous discussions with Officers and Party Groups and visited the Borough’s high streets. This had more recently been followed up with a meeting with Roger Morris at Elstree Studios (as the Studios should be a key stakeholder in whatever happened in the Shenley Road area). He had also asked a design consultancy, with whom he had worked with in the past, to come up with some ‘blue-sky’ options for Shenley Road.

 

The work so far had highlighted that Shenley Road had the highest retail vacancies and that if the difficulties faced by Shenley Road could be successfully tackled, the Council could develop a template for regenerating all the Borough’s high street areas.

 

One difficulty specific to Shenley Road was its considerable length. The current trend was for e-commerce, which meant the length of the Shenley Road was not competitive. This situation would be exacerbated when the new homes were built along the A1000, which would cause the high street area to ‘stretch’ even further but with no cohesive identity or purpose. Councillor Morris suggested that development in Borehamwood had evolved in a piecemeal fashion, whereas a cohesive long-term vision was necessary to secure a viable and vibrant future for the area. For example, there was no connection between what happened at the Station-end of the Road and the activities based at the Studios. The Studios had an high visitor numbers, but derived little from their spending power because they were not being provided with an appropriate retail environment. A long-term vision for maximising retail, economic and environmental gains was needed.

 

So far the work he had undertaken had been at no cost to the Council but Councillor Morris was mindful that if this project was to go any further, proper funding (of at least £100 000) and support processes would need to be set up.

 

The Committee suggested that now that the initial information gathering was complete, a Regeneration Presentation to all Councillors and Officers would be a useful next step. The ‘blue-sky’ options could be presented to engender debate and agree a way forward.

 

The Committee also discussed the infrastructure needs in Hertsmere, in particular the lack of transverse, East-West transport links. Improving the transport infrastructure would support the regeneration of the area. The Head of Partnerships & Community Engagement advised that the Local Enterprise Partnership lobbied for such changes.

 

RESOLVED that the Chair issue an invite to all Councillors and Planning Officers to attend a regeneration presentation on 11 November 2013.

Action by: Principal Democratic Services Officer

178.

Financial Monitoring (regular item) pdf icon PDF 81 KB

 To consider the ATTACHED update.

Minutes:

The Head of Finance was in attendance for this item.

 

A number of points were raised during discussion of this item, including:

-        Nothing significant to report on the surplus level to date, it was still early in the financial year.

-        Homeless temporary accommodation needs were not causing a deficit at the moment and there was sufficient budget for current spending levels.

-        Details on the £37 000 Reserves Transfers would be emailed to Committee Members.

Action by: Head of Finance

179.

Any other business which the Chairman considers urgent

In accordance with S100B(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, amended by the Access to Information Act of 1985, no urgent business may be raised unless it has been approved by the Chair.  The item and reason for urgency must be announced at the start of the meeting.

Minutes:

There was none.

180.

O&S Learning and Development

(a)         To note any forthcoming dates for overview and scrutiny learning and development opportunities; and

 

(b)         To receive feedback from Members and Officers in relation to any overview and scrutiny related learning and development events.

Minutes:

The Committee suggested training on the following:

-        Advanced public speaking

-        Hire a facilitator to run a session on role of scrutiny, what it can achieve, how to improve scrutiny at Hertsmere.

181.

Reports from Scrutiny Committees

The Chairman of the Resources and Environment Scrutiny Committees will report on the work of their respective committees in the current municipal year to date.

Minutes:

Councillor Wayne reported that Environment had looked at Food Safety, Environmental and Health & Safety service plans. The Parking Scrutiny Review had concluded and been approved.

182.

Overview and Scrutiny Budget

Annual budget - £8,850, spend to date - £350.  Balance unspent  £8,500.

 

Minutes:

Noted that the current unspent funds were £8 500.

183.

Forward Plan of the Executive & Committee's Work Programme pdf icon PDF 45 KB

To consider the Forward Plan and identify possible issues for scrutiny.

To consider the Committee’s work programme and requirements for Officer and/or Portfolio Holder attendance.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Noted the Forward Plan.

 

Add Q1 Performance Monitoring to September 2013 meeting.

184.

Dates of future meetings

Future meetings of the Committee are scheduled to take place

at 7.30pm at the Civic Offices, Borehamwood, as follows:

 

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Thursday 7 November 2013

Tuesday 17 December 2013

Tuesday 11 February 2014

Monday 31 March 2014

Wednesday 18 June 2014

Tuesday 29 July 2014.

Minutes:

The next meeting was scheduled for 17 September 2013.

185.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

Recommendation that under S100A(4) 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

14                                                    3

Minutes:

RESOLVED that under S100A(4) Local Government Act 1972, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involved 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

15                                    3

186.

Asset Schedule

At its last meeting, the Committee requested that the Asset Schedule be provided in the following format:

-        Assets to be listed by category, under separate tables/worksheets. Categories to include: land; housing; open space; shops/retail.

-        Location of the asset to be listed but not necessarily to ward level.

-        Council’s annual liabilities for the asset (who pays maintenance, repairs etc) to be listed.

-        Council’s expenditure so far on the asset to be listed.

-        Annual cost of the asset to be listed.

-        Terms of the lease to be listed, ie differentiate between long lease and short lease vis-à-vis the ground rent and rental income.

-        Collected income p.a. on the asset to be listed.

-        Expected income p.a on the asset to be listed.

-        Glossary to be included.

 

Report ATTACHED.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Valuer was in attendance for this item.

 

Key points of the report were highlighted. During the discussion a number of points were raised, including:

-        The rental income per annum column was the net income.

-        The expenditure column was the actual expenditure in 2012/13.

-        Building Control was monitoring Kemp Place Car Park. Any remedial works that had to be done would lead to a charge being placed on the neighbouring properties.

-        Byng Drive Car Park was adopted highways, so fees were collected on parking meters and repaired by Highways.

-        The Committee suggested that any development of the Civic Car Park should look at multi-storey options and include commercial space, so that it could pay for itself and generate higher income levels.

Action by: Assistant Valuer

Appendix - presentation for Financial Strategy: challenges, drivers, enablers. pdf icon PDF 820 KB