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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

44.

Communications and Apologies

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

 

(b)               Apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

The Chairman announced that he had agreed to accept a late item of urgent business regarding the Business Rates Pooling Arrangement for 2016/17.  He advised that Report EX/15/71 had been published on the website separately and copies had been tabled at the meeting.  The reason for urgency was to enable consideration at the earliest opportunity of a matter of significant financial interest to the Council.  He said that, whilst this item came under Any Other Business (agenda item 8), he intended to bring it forward for first consideration on the agenda followed by item 7.1, Hertsmere Revenues National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR) Resources Update, to which it related.  The remaining items would be considered in the order listed in the agenda.

 

He also advised that, since publication of the agenda, it had become clear that it would not be possible to conclude in time for the meeting the negotiations with Cornerstone in respect of the proposed lease for a Rooftop Cell Phone Mast (agenda item 7.2).  Accordingly, he suggested and it was agreed, that this item should be deferred to the following Executive meeting.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Heywood.

 

45.

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:

No Members had an interest to declare in any of the items of business on the agenda.

 

46.

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 Chairman advised that the usual arrangements for speeches by non‑Executive Members would be in place for this meeting.

 

47.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 122 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 16 September 2015.

 

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 16 September 2015 were approved and signed as a true record.

 

48.

Key Decision

Additional documents:

48.1

Business Rates Pooling Arrangement for 2016/17

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     the Executive approve the Council’s submitting an application to form a business rates pool in 2016/17 with other Hertfordshire authorities, as described in Report EX/15/71, subject to the Department for Communities and Local Government confirming that arrangements for 2016/17 will be broadly similar to the existing pooling arrangements; and

 

2.    authority be delegated to the Director of Resources, as the Council’s s151 officer, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property, to agree the final pooling arrangements and enter into a pooling agreement with the other Hertfordshire local authorities.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

To enter into an agreement with other like-minded Hertfordshire authorities to achieve the optimum business rates retention across the county.

 

The Executive supported joining the Pool on the basis of the current arrangement, whereby the County retained 20% of the gain while member districts apportioned the remaining 80% amongst themselves, which it was considered would generate the best outcome for the Council (report paragraph 3.8 refers).

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

Other options considered and rejected were as follows:

 

        Option B gave the County Council its best opportunity of retaining its 20% share, with the remaining 80% being split between all Hertfordshire districts, both members and non-members, based on the forecast levy payable if outside of the pool.  However, Option B meant that this Council would receive its lowest proportion of the surplus share amounting to £640k, an £82k  reduction against the current pooling arrangement while the County Council would share no reduction in its gain.  Accordingly, this option was not supported.

 

        Option C was based on the County Council receiving 18%, with the remaining 82% being split between all Hertfordshire districts, both members and non-members, based on the forecast levy payable.  Under this option, this Council would receive £656k of the surplus, a reduction of £66k against the current arrangement and the County Council would reduce its gain comparatively by the lower amount of £77k.  However, it was noted that, as for Option B, the County Council’s gain was at the expense of member district authorities.  Accordingly, this option was not supported.

 

Another alternative was for the Council to opt out of joining the Pool for the financial year 2016/17.  However, this meant the Council would not then benefit from any potential pooling gain in respect of business rates growth in 2016/17, estimated to be £3.850m for the pool in total, of which Hertsmere’s maximum share was estimated to be £0.722m.  Accordingly, this option was not supported.

 

        Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       Following the Portfolio Holder for Finance and Property’s presentation of the report, the Director of Resources confirmed that the previous risk from ratings appeals, due to changes in legislation, was now comparatively low going forward.  She referred the Executive to report paragraph 3.2 which showed a total forecast for the Pool for 2016/17 of £3.85m of which Hertsmere’s share was £722k.  She then referred Members to the questions to be considered in paragraph 3.10 when forming a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.1

49.

Non-Key Decision

Additional documents:

49.1

Hertsmere Revenues National Non-Domestic Rates (NNDR) Resources Update pdf icon PDF 81 KB

That the Executive approve the continuation of the present contracts for the temporary Rates Retention Officers within the Council’s Revenues Unit, originally agreed by the Executive on 19 November 2014, until the end of the present financial year.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     the continuation of the present contracts for the temporary Rates Retention Officers within the Revenues Unit be approved (originally agreed on 19 November 2014, Report EX/14/69) until the end of the present financial year;

 

2.     this temporary resource, at a total cost of £91k, be funded from the Business Rates Equalisation Account; and

3.     nd

3.  it be noted that a full review of the Revenues Unit organisational structure and permanent resourcing requirements of the service going forward will be carried out, in light of the Rates Retention scheme as well as growth in the council tax property base.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

            The additional temporary resource had proved invaluable in identifying and collecting additional business rates, generating around £192k of additional income for the Council.  However, the continually increasing number of council tax properties had also created a significant extra workload for the Revenues Team.  In the last five years alone, the number of properties had increased by 1,395, yielding Hertsmere a net share of the council tax levies of £200,000, while the team structure had remained static over this period with only occasional seasonal use of agency staff.

 

To be specific, the Council’s Recovery and Rating Team had been under considerable pressure from increased activity to and from the Valuation Office and increased council tax recovery following the demise of council tax benefit and introduction of council tax support and other council tax technical reforms.

 

The planned full review of the service was aimed at ensuring the organisational structure of the Unit was sufficiently robust to meet the needs of the service and the authority going forward.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The alternative option was not to approve the extension of the proposed additional temporary resources.  However, this might result in the Council not maximising its income from business rates.  Also, insufficient provision for rates retention within the Revenues section risked inadequate monitoring and administration of ever more prevalent rates avoidance schemes, together with any increase in recovery enforcement that this generated.  This option was accordingly rejected.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       The Finance and Property Portfolio Holder advised that it was highly likely that this temporary outlay (resolution (2) above refers) would be recovered.

 

(Action:  Director of Resources/Head of Finance and Business Services/Revenues Manager)

 

50.

Further Key Decisions

Additional documents:

50.1

Adoption of Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) pdf icon PDF 153 KB

Following comprehensive review and public consultation, approval is sought for the revised Affordable Housing Supplementary Planning Document to be adopted as part of the Council’s Local Plan.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that the changes made to the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) as a result of the comments generated through the public consultation be noted and the revised Affordable Housing SPD be adopted, subject to any minor changes to be agreed by the Director of Environment in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Localism.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The use of an SPD accorded with the Council’s Core Strategy and was a logical continuation of the Council’s approach to Affordable Housing. 

 

Revision of the 2008 Affordable Housing SPD was required for a number of reasons, including alignmemnt with the newer National Planning Policy Framework and Core Strategy.  It was considered that the revised policy detail would assist the Council to achieve Affordable Housing units effectively in co‑operation with housing developers and registered providers and as such should be implemented as soon as practical to take account of increasing property values.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The Council could have elected not to have a SPD.  However, as the use of an SPD accorded with the Council’s Core Strategy and approach to Affordable Housing, this option was not supported.

 

Another option was to vary some of the provisions in the SPD such as securing greater contributions from developers, where commuted payments were made, to potentially cover build costs in addition to the cost of land.  However, Members acknowledged that the addition of build costs to the increased land values set out in the revised SPD was likely to raise significant scheme development viability issues unless the proportion of affordable housing to be sought was reduced and that these viability issues had not yet been tested, thereby requiring further viability work.  For these reasons, this departure from the current model (which allowed a subsidy to assist registered providers with build costs) was not supported at the present time.  It was recognised that, in the event that the amounts sought from developers, increased in the future, amendments could be made to the SPD and it would be reissued for public consultation. 

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       The proposed adoption of the revised SPD was fully supported by Executive and non-Executive Members alike.

 

(Action:  Policy and Transport Manager/Planning Officer)

 

50.2

Hertfordshire Building Control Project Outline Business Plan pdf icon PDF 98 KB

The Executive is asked to consider an outline business plan for a joint venture between seven district councils in Hertfordshire for the provision of building control services.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.       it be agreed in principle that the Council form a joint independent         company with other interested authorities, with an Approved Inspector subsidiary, to provide building control services; and

 

2.       authority be delegated to the Director of Environment, in consultation with     the Portfolio Holder for Planning and Localism, to take the necessary   action to produce a final business plan to be brought to a future meeting         of the Executive.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

Forming an independent company with an Approved Inspector subsidiary to provide building control services had a number of benefits as follows:

 

·             creation of efficiencies in terms of back office costs such as ICT and           building charges;

·             rationalisation of resources;

·             greater flexibility in the way that staff were deployed based on market need;

·             greater flexibility in terms of incentives and training for staff, improving retention and job satisfaction;

·             minimum surplus to be re-invested in both the company and the local          authorities.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The alternative option of not exploring this delivery model was not supported as it meant that the Council would continue to lose its market share as pressure from Approved Inspectors built.  In addition, if the other Hertfordshire authorities proceeded with the Approved Inspector model but without Hertsmere, they would have the ability to take work from this Borough putting the Council’s service in an even more untenable position. 

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       The Director of Environment presented the report drawing Members’ particular attention to paragraphs 2.10 to 2.14 which outlined the financial model for the proposal.

 

·       The Planning and Localism Portfolio Holder welcomed the proposal which he pointed out was consistent with the objectives of an enterprising council and thanked the Director of Environment for his contribution to the project.

 

(Action:  Director of Environment)

 

50.3

Award of Contract for Advertising Services pdf icon PDF 67 KB

The Executive is asked to award a three-year contract, with a possible one year extension, for the provision of advertising services.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that, subject to approval of the evaluation details set out in Report EX/15/55 in part II of the agenda, a three-year contract, with a possible one year extension, be awarded to Adconnection Limited for the provision of advertising services.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

          The contract was awarded to the company which had provided the most economically advantageous bid and achieved the highest score against the published evaluation criteria.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The decision could have been taken to place advertisements directly with the media.  However, this option was not favoured as it was likely to be more costly due to advertising agencies securing better rates.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       In recommending the contract award, the Finance and Property Portfolio Holder highlighted the advantage of having a framework contract with a schedule of rates and no minimum spend and that the contract also afforded the opportunity for shared working with other Hertfordshire authorities (report paragraphs 2.4 and 2.5 refer).

 

 (Action:  Head of Procurement)

 

51.

Further Non-Key Decisions

Additional documents:

51.1

Civic Offices. Borehamwood- Rooftop Cell Phone Mast pdf icon PDF 70 KB

The Executive is asked to approve the granting of a lease for the construction of a new cell phone mast and equipment cabin on the roof of the Civic Offices.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that consideration of this item be deferred to the following meeting on 18 November 2015 to enable the Council’s negotiations with the proposed lessee to be concluded.

 

(Action:  Asset Manager)

 

51.2

62 Milton Drive, Borehamwood - Sale of Land and Removal of Restrictive Covenant pdf icon PDF 73 KB

The Executive’s approval is sought for the disposal of a small parcel of land and to the removal of a Restrictive Covenant that currently restricts the use of the site.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that, subject to consideration of the valuation summary at item 12 in part II of the agenda, the Council dispose of a small parcel of land adjacent to the property at 62 Milton drive, Borehamwood and agree to the removal of a restrictive covenant that currently restricts the use of the site.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

To enable residential development within the Borough and to provide the Council with a reasonable capital receipt from a small parcel of land, 80% of which, in line with Council policy, would be ring-fenced to the Housing Fund.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

Developing the site without the acquisition of the Council’s land, by either moving the proposed building farther back into the site or by re-routing the pedestrian access around the site, was not considered acceptable.  It was anticipated that this might lead to the risk of development of the site in accordance with the planning consent but without acquisition of the Council’s land.  It was foreseen that the purchasers of the completed flats might assume mistakenly that they had right of access over the Council’s land which in turn might lead to the Council having to take legal action against them.

 

(Action:  Estates Valuer/Engineering Services Manager)

 

51.3

Area Quality Management Areas pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To note the action and findings in relation to air quality management and to approve the making of the Council’s Air Quality Management Order 2015 to be effective following public consultation.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Decision that the report be noted and the making of the Hertsmere Borough Council Air Quality Management Order 2015 be approved with effect following completion of the public notification.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The Council’s approval of the Order prior to public notification and its subsequent effect was required as part of the staged approach for reviewing and assessing air quality as defined by the Environment Act 1995.  Specifically, the Air Quality Management Order 2015 made changes to existing Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) 4 (Hartspring Lane/12 Grove Place, Aldenham - revised boundaries) and AQMA 5 (Elstree Crossroads – extended area).  It also introduced new AQMA 7 (Junctions of Park Road/Aldenham Road/Watling Street, Radlett) and new AQMA 8 (Shenley Road, Borehamwood).

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

As the assessment by local authorities of poor air quality in their areas was a statutory requirement, there was no alternative to declaring and/or extending Air Quality Management Areas and publishing the associated Orders.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       The Director of Environment introduced the report in the absence of the Portfolio Holder for Environment and Transport.

 

·       The Assistant Chief Environmental Health Officer distributed among Members some photographs showing examples of air quality monitoring equipment which were positioned at various locations around the Borough.

 

·       During discussion, Members expressed particular concern for local pollution caused by traffic and asked what action could be taken by this Council to combat the problem.  The Senior Environmental Health Officer explained that the Council worked in partnership with a number of agencies, including Hertfordshire Highways and Highways England, in pursuit of initiatives detailed in its action plan which was available on the Council’s website.  She advised that the Council was also considering carrying out a feasibility study into establishing a low emission zone which was a notoriously difficult process.  Other areas of action, however, involved educating people by encouraging the use of forms of transport other than the car, such as public transport, walking and cycling.

 

(Action:  Senior Environmental Health Officer)

 

52.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Executive is scheduled to take place at 6pm on Wednesday, 18 November 2015 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, 18 November 2015 at 6.00pm.

 

53.

Exclusion of the Public

Recommendation 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

 

1.1     None.                                                                       

 

 

2.       NON-KEY DECISIONS

 

2.1     Appendix to Item 7.2:  Civic Offices,                           3

          Borehamwood - Rooftop Cell Phone

          Mast (Report EX/15/59)

         

2.2     Appendix to Item 7.3: 62 Milton Drive,                        3

          Borehamwood - Sale of Land and

          Removal of Restrictive Covenant

          (Report EX/15/61)

 

2.3     Award of Contract for Advertising Services                  3

 

2.4     Minor Restructure in Environmental Health -           1, 2, 3 & 4

          Financial Implications

 

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 items of business on the grounds that they involve 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     Appendix to Item 7.2:  Civic Offices,                           3

          Borehamwood – Rooftop Cell Phone Mast                 

          (Report EX/15/59)  

 

2.2     Appendix to Item 7.3:  62 Milton Drive,                       3

          Borehamwood – Sale of Land and Removal

          of Restrictive Covenant (Report EX/15/61)

 

2.3     Award of Contract for Advertising Services                 3

 

2.4     Minor Restructure in Environmental Health -         1, 2, 3 & 4

           Financial Implications       

 

54.

Appendix to Item 7.2: Civic Offices. Borehamwood - Rooftop Cell Phone Mast

Appendix to Item 7.2:  Civic Offices, Borehamwood - Rooftop Cell Phone Mast (Report EX/15/59)

 

Minutes:

It was noted that this item had been withdrawn from the agenda in accordance with the deferral at Minute 51.1 above.

 

55.

Appendix to Item 7.3: 62 Milton Drive, Borehamwood - Sale of Land and Removal of Restrictive Covenant

Appendix 1 to Item 7.3:  62 Milton Drive, Borehamwood - Sale of Land and Removal of Restrictive Covenant (Report EX/15/61)

 

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     Appendix 1 to Report EX/15/61 at agenda item 7.3, comprising the Valuation Summary for the site, be noted; and

 

2.     Officers be instructed to check that the tenure of the piece of land proposed to be sold is the same as that of the garden of the neighbouring property.

 

(Action:  Estates Valuer/Engineering Services Manager)

 

56.

Award of Contract for Advertising Services

Report of Officers.

 

Minutes:

Decision that the content of Report EX/15/55 be noted and the evaluation details in the Appendix approved as part of the contract award agreed at Minute 50.3 above.

 

57.

Minor Restructure in Environmental Health - Financial Implications

Report of Officers.

 

 

Minutes:

Decision that:

 

1.     the decision of the Personnel Committee to approve a minor restructure of the Environmental Health service, as detailed in paragraph 2.1 of Report EX/15/68, be noted; and

 

2.     the financial implications of the minor restructure of the Environmental Health service, as set out in report paragraphs 7.1 to 7.3 be agreed.

 

Reasons for the Decision

 

The proposal concerned a minor change in the Environmental Health section involving the deletion of a post to be replaced by a lower graded post, the resilience of the service to be supported by a shared service arrangement with neighbouring local authorities as required.  The decision was consistent with the need to explore opportunities for efficiency savings in all services to assist with the balancing of the budget for 2016/17.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

The decision could have been made not to change the existing arrangements.  However, as this would have meant losing the opportunity to generate ongoing efficiency savings and would not have addressed the need for greater resilience within the service, that option was not supported.

 

Key Points Arising from the Discussion

 

·       Some Executive Members expressed concerns about a possible decrease in capacity in the relevant service area.  However, the Chief Environmental Health Officer assured Members that, although there would be a reduction in cost, there would be no reduction in capacity and that interim arrangements were already in place, including the provision of assistance from a neighbouring authority. 

 

 (Action:  Head of HR and Customer Services/Chief Environmental Health Officer)