Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Monday, 17th November, 2014 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber

Contact: Catherine Mackenzie 

Items
No. Item

51.

Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors M Knight (Leader of the East Wycombe Independent Group), R Metcalfe (Deputy Cabinet Member for HR, ICT and Customer Service) and A Turner (Leader of the Independent Group).

 

52.

Minutes

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the meeting of the special Cabinet held on 20 October 2014 be approved as a true record and signed by the Chairman.

 

 

53.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

 

54.

2014/15 Service Performance: Q1 and Q2

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

A summary of the year to date position for the Council’s performance at service level (local performance indicators), was presented to Cabinet for review, together with performance details of the measures identified by Cabinet for performance focus.

 

The following decisions were made to review the performance position as at 30 September 2014 to ensure that the Council was performing at the appropriate level.

 

RESOLVED: That (i) the performance of the measures identified by Cabinet for performance focus through 2014/15 be noted; and

 

(ii)    the summary of the year to date outturns (April – September) for service performance be received.

 

 

55.

Budget Monitoring Report Quarter 2

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The report before Cabinet set out the budgetary position at the end of September 2014 and identified the key issues and actions being taken by officers.

The following decision was made as Cabinet approved a budget each year within the context of a Medium Term Financial Strategy to achieve the Council’s priorities.  Regular monitoring reports were submitted to Cabinet for review during the financial year, with management actions highlighted to ensure that Cabinet could assess whether any further action was required.

 

RESOLVED: That the current budgetary position at the end of September 2014, and actions already taken be noted and support be given to the further management actions proposed to ensure that the budget was achieved.

 

 

 

56.

Strategic Budget & Major Projects Programme

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The report before Cabinet set out the Council’s updated position on the Strategic Budget including its approach to the funding of major projects, managing risk, and the potential opportunities which could improve the financial position.

Cabinet were reminded that the Council had approved its current Medium Term Financial Plan in April 2014. The plan had identified that in the short term the Council would be able to deliver a balanced budget (subject to the delivery of its Transformation Programme). However, substantial savings would be needed from 2017/18.

The report also detailed the new proposed major scheme bids together with additional scheme details for approval and release, in relation to the Major Projects Programme which would generate new funding streams. An exempt addendum to the Major Projects Programme was circulated at the meeting for consideration.

Members noted that work would be undertaken again to consider the viability of a business rates pool with some of the Buckinghamshire Authorities to try and retain potential revenue locally.

The following recommendation and decisions were made as under the Council’s Constitution and Budget Strategy, the Council reviewed and set a balanced budget each year in line with corporate priorities.

 

Recommended: That the updated Major Projects Programme and funding bids (2014/15 – 2018/19) set out at appendix 5A and exempt appendix 5B of the report be approved and that a Policy for the use and operation of the Regeneration Fund be brought back to Cabinet / Council for approval prior to the use of any funds.

 

RESOLVED: That (i)             the updated financial projection for the Councils General Fund Revenue Account set out in Appendix C of the report until 2020/21, key assumptions and forward budgetary planning implications be noted;

 

(ii)    the final decision on whether to join a business rates pooling arrangement from 2015/16 with all other Buckinghamshire Districts, Bucks Fire and Rescue and Bucks County Council be delegated to the Head of Finance and Commercial, the Monitoring Officer, the Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance; and

 

(iii)  the release of £25,000 from the Business Rates Equalisation Fund to enable financial due diligence to be carried out on Business Rates pooling and support the assessment of the appeals provision for 2014/15 be approved.

 

 

57.

Referral from the High Wycombe Town Committee - Adoption Of Wording To Identify Projects In Receipt Of Funding From The High Wycombe Town Committee Community Support Grant

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The report before Cabinet set out the recommendation from the High Wycombe Town Committee that organisations in receipt of a High Wycombe Town Committee Community Support Grant be requested to use the following preferred wording on publicity materials to acknowledge receipt of the funding: “Funded (or part funded) by the High Wycombe Town Committee of Wycombe District Council”. The High Wycombe Town Committee had made the recommendation at its meeting on 16 September 2014.

 

The following decisions were made to enable identification of those projects which had been funded by the High Wycombe Town Committee Community Support Grant, and for organisations in receipt of such funding to acknowledge High Wycombe Town Committee on their publicity literature and materials.

 

 

RESOLVED: That (i) organisations in receipt of a High Wycombe Town Committee Community Support Grant be requested to use the following preferred wording on publicity materials to acknowledge receipt of the funding: “Funded (or part funded) by the High Wycombe Town Committee of Wycombe District Council”; and 

 

(ii)    a half-yearly information sheet be issued to the High Wycombe Town Committee listing the grants awarded.

 

 

 

58.

Information Sheets

Minutes:

Cabinet received the following Information Sheets issued since the last meeting:

 

                4/2014 Complaints, Comments, Compliment – Information and Improvements: Quarter 1 (April – June 2014)

 

59.

File on Action Taken Under Delegated Authority

Minutes:

Cabinet received the following files on actions taken under delegated powers:

 

Community C/47/14 – C/52/14

Environment E/11/14 – E/12/14

Finance F/21/14 – F/22/14

Leader L/14/14 – L/17/14

Planning PS/22/14 – PS/23/14

 

60.

Urgent Items (If any)

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

IMPROVEMENT AND REVIEW COMMISSION ‘CALL IN’ OF CABINET DECISION 20 OCTOBER 2014 ‘RESERVE SITES AND PROGRESSING THE LOCAL PLAN’

 

Following on from the Cabinet decision on 20 October 2014 regarding the Reserve Sites and Progressing the Local Plan, the Improvement and Review

Commission had invoked the ‘’Call in’’ of the decision at its meeting on 12  November 2014.

 

The Chairman of the Commission gave a detailed verbal presentation  of the Commission’s concerns and reasoning behind the suggested recommendations.

 

The Cabinet Member for Planning and Sustainability gave a comprehensive response to each recommendation and responded to the questions raised. The Cabinet’s proposed response to the Improvement & Review Commission’s recommendations was circulated at the meeting.

 

After due consideration, Cabinet voted on each recommendation and  decided that they could not accept any of the proposed recommendations for the reasons set out in the appended Cabinet’s response.

 

During consideration of this item, Cabinet confirmed its original decision taken on 20 October 2014  that the five reserve sites be released for development to ensure the best outcome for local people and the District. It was agreed that a one or two page guidance sheet summarising the advantages and disadvantages of proceeding with the decision be produced to aid the public’s understanding of the reasons for the decision.

The report was taken as a matter of urgency as the Council’s ability to set the right framework for the development of the sites and to secure the best outcomes for the community would be compromised by any delay in making a decision.

The following decisions were made as Option 5 (release of the five reserve sites), had been recommended to assist in delivering housing to contribute towards the Council’s rolling five year housing land supply, because of the over-riding importance of ensuring as much local control as possible on the future development of those sites and because the sites had been reserved for development for many years. In order to respond to the strength of public interest and concerns, the decision would be taken forward with the involvement of specific liaison groups, one for each site, together with a High Wycombe roundtable to consider the town wide infrastructure implications. Infrastructure issues in relation to the Slate Meadow site would be considered at the site liaison group.

 

resolved: That (i) the five recommendations from the Improvement & Review Commission be refused for the reasons set out in the appended Cabinet’s response.

 

(ii) Cabinet proceed with the original decision taken on 20 October 2014, that:

 

(iii)    having considered the recommendations of the Local Plan Task and Finish Group meeting of 1st October 2014, the recommendation at Appendix 5 of the 20 October Cabinet report be agreed; and

 

(iv)    having in mind the issues set out in Appendices 3 and 4 of the 20 October Cabinet report, the reserve sites (Abbey Barn North, Abbey Barn South, Gomm Valley and Ashwells, Slate Meadow, and Terriers Farm as shown in the Plans in Appendix 2 of the 20 October  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

RESOLVED: That the Press and Public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items as they contain exempt information as defined in Regulation 4(2)(b) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012, more particularly as follows:

Minute 56 –  Strategic Funding Update – Appendices B & D

Minute 60 -   Grange Farm

Minute 61 -   Proposed Property Acquisition

Minute 62 -   Station Approach, Marlow

Minute 63 -   Proposed Development of Land at Holmers Farm

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information (Paragraph 3, Part 1 of schedule 12A, Local Government Act 1972)

[The need to maintain the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure because disclosure could prejudice the Council’s position in any future tender process or negotiations]

 

Minute 64 – File on Exempt Actions Taken under Delegated Powers

Economic Development & Regeneration Sheet Nos: EDR/51/14 – EDR/62/14

Finance Sheet No: F/01/14

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information (Paragraph 3, Part 1 of schedule 12A, Local Government Act 1972)

[The need to maintain the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosure because disclosure could prejudice the Council’s position in any future tender process or negotiations]

 

 

 

 

61.

Grange Farm

Minutes:

The report before Cabinet outlined proposals for funding to convert Grange Farm complex into a business centre which could potentially be let to small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). 

 

The following decisions and recommendation was made as Grange Farm had been previously let to a horticultural company .  The main horticultural production facility (poly tunnels), had been re-let but the farmhouse which is a listed building and adjoining barn/granary buildings remained vacant. They did though have potential for re-use by SMEs as ‘rural workspace’, presenting an investment opportunity that required funding.

 

 

RESOLVED: That (i) Grange Farm be converted into a business centre; and

 

(ii)    the sum referred to in paragraph 5 of the report be released.

Recommended:  That an addition be made to the Major Projects Programme 2014/15 of the sum referred to in paragraph 1 of the report to fund the conversion of Grange Farm into a Business Centre.

 

 

 

62.

Proposed Property Acquisition

Minutes:

Cabinet approval was sought for the allocation of funding from the Major Projects Programme to acquire the freehold of retail premises in High Wycombe ‘Old Town’ and for the refurbishment of the property.

 

The following  decision and recommendation was made as the Council had already successfully intervened in the ‘Old Town’ by acquiring two vacant shops, refurbishing and re-letting, creating both regeneration and an income stream. A further opportunity existed to extend the investment, which required funding.

 

RESOLVED: That the proposed freehold acquisition retail premises in High Wycombe ‘Old Town’ as set out in paragraph 8 of the report be approved and the sum referred to in paragraph 1 of the report be released.

 

Recommended: That the addition to the 2014/15 Major Projects Programme of the sum set out in paragraph 1 of the report be approved to fund the proposed acquisition and works to the property referred to in paragraph 7 of the report.

 

 

 

63.

Station Approach, Marlow

Minutes:

The report before Cabinet sought approval to revise the previously agreed freehold disposal terms for Station Approach, Marlow.

 

The following decision was made to ensure that the freehold disposal of Station Approach was undertaken.

 

RESOLVED: That the previously approved disposal terms be revised, as detailed in paragraph 6 of the report.

 

 

 

64.

Proposed Development of Land at Holmers Farm

Minutes:

Cabinet approval was sought to grant a ground lease and release funding to invest in the proposed development of land at Holmers Farm.

 

The following decision and recommendation was made to invest in the proposed development of land at Holmers Farm.

 

RESOLVED: That a long leasehold interest of land be granted, and the release of the capital sum set out in paragraph 1 of the report to fund  the proposed development of land at Holmers Farm as an investment be approved with detailed terms of the transaction to be delegated to the Major Projects and Estates Executive and Head of Finance and Commercial in consultation with the Leader, Cabinet Member for Economic Development and Regeneration, Cabinet Member for Finance and Commercial and District Solicitor.

 

Recommended: That the addition to the 2014/15 Major Projects Programme of the sum set out in paragraph 1 of the report be approved to fund the proposed works, subject to both planning and the minimum revenue return set out in paragraph 6 of the report.

 

 

 

65.

File on action taken under exempt delegated powers

Minutes:

Cabinet received the following files on exempt actions taken under delegated

powers:

 

Economic Development & Regeneration: EDR/51/14 – EDR/62/14

Finance: F/01/14