Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 16th June, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: https://www.youtube.com/ScarboroughCouncil

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 81 KB

Members are reminded of the need to consider whether they have a disclosable pecuniary, prejudicial or other (personal) interest to declare in any items on this agenda.  Details of any interest must be declared at the start of the meeting or as soon as any interest becomes apparent during the meeting.  The attached form must also be completed. Any advice required should ideally be sought before the day of the meeting.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Jefferson declared a personal interest in agenda item 12, Scarborough Town Centre Regeneration (Student Accommodation Scheme) and in agenda item 13, Scarborough Town Centre Regeneration (Scarborough Market Square Proposals),  since she was President of Scarborough Chamber of Trade and Commerce.

 

Councillor Jefferson declared a personal interest in agenda item 12, Scarborough Town Centre Regeneration (Student Accommodation Scheme) and in agenda item 13, Scarborough Town Centre Regeneration (Scarborough Market Square Proposals),  since she owned a business and shop in Eastborough near to the site.

 

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 254 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 12 May 2020 attached

 

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 12 May 2020 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

3.

Public Question Time

Public questions of which due notice has been given and which are relevant to the business of the Cabinet.

Minutes:

The Chairman reported the receipt of several public questions by Mr James Corrigan which were read out on his behalf.  The questions and answers given at the meeting are set out below.

1.         The Creditors meeting in relation to the Travelodge Hotels Limited Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA) is to be held on 19 June 2020. I understand creditors are being asked to vote on the proposals on 17 June. Is the Council voting to support the CVA? Who is authorised to cast the vote? How much rent will the Council lose in the current financial year and the next financial year if the proposals are accepted? Are there any longer term implications to the council’s finances as a consequence of this CVA?

Reply: The Leader would be making a statement on this matter at the end of the meeting.

2.         How much has Benchmark repaid to the council in relation to the Loan, Interest and Rent (showing each amount separately) during each of the Council financial years since the grant of the lease to Benchmark Leisure Ltd on the practical completion of the Waterpark? In note 36 of the Council’s accounts for the year ended 31 March 2019 it states “On practical completion of the Water Park the Council granted Benchmark a 35 year lease on the facility and Benchmark will thereafter pay the Council fixed, commercial rentals on that lease. The rental payments will be used to repay the outstanding loan amounts.” Please confirm that loan repayments are being received in addition to the rent under the 35 year lease?

Reply (Cllr Jefferson): As indicated within your question, the Council’s Financial Statements contain publicly available financial information regarding the loan with Benchmark for the Water Park.

The updated Financial Statements for the year ending 31 March 2020 will be published on the Council’s website before the end of July. Officers will notify Mr Corrigan once the information is available.

The following questions relate to the proposals for the regeneration of Scarborough Town Centre Regeneration, agenda items 12 and 13 (Student accommodation and Market Square):

 3.        In the financial appraisal that has not been disclosed to the public, how has the proposed income from the commercial units on the ground floor been assessed? Has the Council received advice about the letting of these units? How long does the Council estimate it will take between completion of the construction works and the full letting of these commercial units? In view of the significant changes in the economic climate due to the COVID-19 pandemic have the arrangements anticipated for the letting of these commercial units been revised from the original financial appraisal put to full Council on 12 July 2019?

Reply (Cllr Colling): The Council report set out that this was a financial risk to the Council and this has not changed. Overall however, the commercial units will generate circa 13% of the overall income from the building therefore are not hugely material in terms of progression of the scheme.

A conditional  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 423 KB

To review the Cabinet’s Forward Plan (reference 20/116) attached.

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered the Forward Plan (Reference 20/116).  Councillor Maw reported the addition of an item for the July Cabinet meeting under his Stronger Communities and Housing portfolio: a follow-up report on the sale of land at Danes Dyke, Newby for a refuge for victims of domestic abuse and violence.

RESOLVED that, subject to the above amendment, the Forward Plan be approved.

 

 

5.

Progress of Scrutiny of Executive Decisions

To receive an oral report by the Chief Executive.

Minutes:

Members were advised that there had been no call-ins of executive decisions since the last meeting on 12 May.

 

6.

Unreasonably Persistent Complainants and Unacceptable Behaviour Policy pdf icon PDF 396 KB

To consider the report of the Director (LD) (reference 20/95) attached

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (LD) (Reference 20/95) in respect of proposed amendments to the Council’s Unreasonably Persistent Complainants and Unacceptable Behaviour Policy.  Members were advised that this policy was introduced in 2009 in response to considerable volumes of correspondence which were being received from some individuals, including offensive and threatening emails and repeated unsupported allegations against officers and Members.  This type of correspondence placed a significant and disproportionate burden on services dealing with it and affected the Council’s ability to deal with our other customers.  The Council also had a duty of care to both officers and members, to protect them from unreasonable behaviour.  As part of the review of the policy, officers looked at the approach taken by over 200 other councils and the recommendations of the Local Government Ombudsman.  The vast majority operated a similar policy which was based on the Ombudsman’s model.  Currently only 8 people across the whole Borough were designated under the policy.  Regular six-monthly reviews were undertaken by the Executive Management Team and people were de-designated if their behaviour has moderated.  In respect of suggestions received about the report from Ms Vanda Inman, officers undertook to include a specific reference to misogynistic and sexist behaviour in the policy.  With regard to a suggested reference to the late Jo Cox, it was felt that this would be more appropriately included in the Equalities policy which was scheduled for review shortly.  In response to Members’ questions, the Performance and Governance Manager advised that designation of persistent complainant status was not applied arbitrarily but after repeated warnings.  Only if the correspondence contained extreme content would the designation be applied immediately.  Complainants had various avenues of appeal including to the Ombudsman, but these avenues were seldom used.  Asked whether councillors could be notified if they had received emails which had been diverted in accordance with the policy, the Performance and Governance Manager explained that such emails from a single sender were often numerous and sent to multiple recipients, which made the notification requested impracticable in some cases.  However, officers would look into this, whilst noting that persistent complainants tended to use a variety of ways to contact councillors including telephone.    

RESOLVED that the Cabinet recommend that Council approve amendments to the Council’s Policy on Persistent and Unreasonably Persistent Complainants.

 

Reasons

To ensure that the Policy remains fit for purpose

 

7.

LGA Peer Challenge pdf icon PDF 407 KB

To consider the report of the Chief Executive (reference 20/111) attached

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Chief Executive (Reference 20/111) in respect of the outcome of the recent Local Government Association Peer Challenge.  Both the Chairman and the Chief Executive thanked the LGA Peer Team and all those officers and councillors who took part in the recent review which had been an extremely valuable and constructive exercise conducted within a very short space of time.  The Chief Executive advised that the overarching feedback was very positive.  The assessors remarked that the council was aspirational, knew its local place and was bold in operating beyond its statutory requirements to deliver impressive outcomes for the borough and local communities including the open-air theatre, coastal defence works, and skills village.  However, there was a disconnect between what Scarborough Borough Council was trying to achieve and residents' perceptions and trust in the council which needed to be addressed.  The council was taking positive steps to improve and there was a desire for change which could be harnessed, as evidenced by the ongoing Building a Better Borough programme.  The Chief Executive then outlined the Peer Team’s recommendations and a series of immediate actions stemming from these recommendations including completion of the new Corporate Plan, the governance review, proposals for a ‘fit for purpose’ organisational structure and to address the capacity gaps within the organisation, and a new communications strategy and marketing and communications function.  Members welcomed the report.  The Deputy Leader, Councillor Colling proposed a new recommendation 4 which was accepted:

(IV) formally record our thanks to all our colleagues and partners across the Borough for their honest conversations with the Peer Review Team . We are very grateful for the feedback which has informed the outputs of the review 

RESOLVED that the Cabinet

     I.        note the extremely positive and optimistic feedback from The Local Government Association Peer Challenge

    II.        note that members will receive a detailed improvement plan within six weeks.  This will include clear actions, timescales, financial implications, plans, monitoring and evaluation proposals.

  III.        support the proposals in paragraph 4.9 to be actioned immediately

  IV.        formally record our thanks to all our colleagues and partners across the Borough for their honest conversations with the Peer Review Team . We are very grateful for the feedback which has informed the outputs of the review 

   V.        record thanks to the LGA Peer team and welcome its findings

 

Reasons

To allow the council to continue to drive forward its improvement agenda and build a better borough for all who live, work and visit the area.

 

 

8.

Pride in Our People pdf icon PDF 301 KB

To consider the report of the Director (LD) (reference 20/112) attached

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (LD) (Reference 20/112) in respect of progress in the implementation of the Council’s workforce development programme, ‘Pride In Our People’.  The Portfolio Holder, Councillor Jefferson and the Director, Lisa Dixon congratulated staff for their contributions to this new programme and for the way in which they had risen to the many challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis.  This was echoed by the Chief Executive, Chairman and other members of the Cabinet.  Members were reminded that the Council was in a period of unprecedented change offering multiple challenges but also exciting new opportunities.  In order to take advantage of these the Council had to work differently, and engage more in partnership with communities, partners and businesses to shape the Borough.  The Pride In Our People programme was based on the feedback derived from the Chief Executive’s staff and member workshops, informed by the needs of the organisation to grow and develop in the future. This was divided into seven themes: recruitment and retention; communications and engagement; skills for the future Council; reward and recognition; leadership/management development; values and behaviours; and health and wellbeing.  Lessons from the COVID crisis were now feeding into the skills for the future Council work stream.  The Leadership Group established three particular areas of work they felt it was necessary to address as a starting point to enable the Council to start on its journey of transformation: empowering staff to innovate and take responsibility for their work and change; creating a culture of positivity; and providing a safety net for all staff so staff feel fully supported in their work environment.  Since the first Leadership Team meeting in December, the Group had started working with volunteers from the 48-strong Talent Team to develop ways in which the Council could address the issues identified in their initial work areas.

RESOLVED that the Cabinet note the progress to date in the implementation of the Council’s workforce development programme, ‘Pride In Our People’.

 

Reasons

‘Pride In Our People’ sets out to develop a new workforce development programme designed to reflect the skills and dedication of our employees whilst also helping us to support and equip them to develop and flourish in order to meet the future needs of the Council. This report seeks to update members on progress of the programme to date and seek approval to its next stages.

 

 

9.

Bay Side South Regeneration Opportunity pdf icon PDF 511 KB

To consider the report of the Director (RB) (reference 20/108) attached

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (RB) (Reference 20/108) in respect of the development of a strategic vision statement and social and economic strategic drivers for the redevelopment of the Bay Side South regeneration area.  Members were reminded that in February it was reported to Cabinet that the independent review and assessment of the project to redevelop the former Futurist site had given the project an overall RAG rating of Amber, indicating that whilst key assessment questions had been addressed throughout the progression of the development proposals, some specific issues in relation to ensuring a better understanding of the strategic and economic business cases required further consideration and to provide assurance that the project would be driven forward in a way that would secure maximum benefit from this key development site for the Council and the Borough’s communities in the long term. A collaborative cross party working group was therefore established to undertake a facilitated visioning exercise, to achieve clarity around the Council's strategic vision and priorities for the development of the site, from which to better inform the Council’s ongoing negotiations with the preferred bidder, Flamingoland.  This report set out the working group’s conclusions and recommendations and the strategic vision statement and the social and economic drivers for the redevelopment of the Bay Side South regeneration area which the Cabinet was asked to adopt. The Chair and other Cabinet Members welcomed this report noting the clarity it brought to the Council’s aspirations, the importance of social value alongside the other factors, and the benefits the redevelopment would bring to the local community.  With the permission of the Chairman, Councillor David Jeffels addressed the Cabinet as follows: ‘would the Cabinet agree that the Futurist site provides Scarborough with a golden opportunity to have a development which will not only be iconic but which will be a catalyst to regenerate not only the Foreshore but the town centre as a whole?  It needs a visionary scheme, linking the seafront with St Nicholas Street - a scheme which will give visitors a new reason to come to Scarborough.

To this end I believe we should take two key actions:

1.         Re-market the site both nationally and in the rest of Europe, as one which, with Scarborough's reputation as a leading national holiday area, offers enormous long term potential.

2.         Launch a nation-wide architectural competition to generate new interest in this prime site which could enhance the reputation of the winner and provide the Borough Council with a scheme which could benefit the town's reputation and economy and which could generate further investment by both local business leaders and those on the national scene.’

In response, the Portfolio Holder, Councillor Colling agreed that the report made clear that the Bay Side South development area did indeed provide Scarborough with a golden opportunity to have a development which would not only be iconic but which would be a catalyst to regenerate not only the Foreshore but the town centre as a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Agreement with York Housing Association to provide Temporary Accommodation for the Homeless pdf icon PDF 387 KB

To consider the report of the Director (NE) (reference 20/113) attached

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (NE) (Reference 20/113) in respect of a refreshed agreement with York Housing Association to provide temporary accommodation for homeless people.  Members were reminded of the significant difference in cost between housing association owned temporary accommodation for homeless people and bed and breakfast, and the therefore the importance of securing the former along with the necessary support to help reduce homelessness.  Members were pleased to learn that following the decision to enter into a new collaboration agreement with the County Council regarding support for homeless people in October 2019, the Council’s main provider of temporary accommodation (York Housing Association) had agreed to enter into a new Service Level Agreement for the next 5 years regarding the provision of 46 units of temporary accommodation. This agreement was effectively a refresh and consolidation of existing agreements and set out the roles and responsibilities of both the housing association and the Council.

RESOLVED that the Cabinet agree to enter into a refreshed Service Level Agreement with York Housing Association in respect of 46 units of temporary accommodation for homeless people on the terms as set out in this report.

 

Reasons

This report provides a follow up to the recommendations within the Councils Homeless Strategy and Cabinet report of 19/153 of September 2019 and seeks agreement to enter into a refreshed and updated Service Level Agreement with York Housing Association in respect of 46 units of temporary accommodation for homeless people.

 

11.

Exclusion of the Public

To consider the following motion:-

“that in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (and subject to consideration of the public interest under Paragraph 10 of Part 2 of Schedule 12A of the Act) 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 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act), namely information;

(a) relating to any individual;

(b) which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual; and/or

(c) relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)”.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman noted that the remaining reports on the agenda included private and confidential content which might necessitate moving into private session should Members wish to discuss the sensitive information therein.  In the event, the items were considered in public.

 

 

12.

Scarborough Town Centre Regeneration (Student Accommodation Scheme)

To consider the report of the Director (RB) (reference 20/114) attached

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (RB) (Reference 20/114) in respect of the development of the former Argos Building and wider regeneration of the area.  Introducing the report, the Commercial Director, Richard Bradley advised that the report recommended to Cabinet to approve entry into a conditional contract for sale and a conditional funding agreement that would deliver the regeneration of the former Argos building and to achieve urban renewal and social benefits throughout the borough by facilitating the regeneration of a key strategic site within Scarborough Town Centre, supporting the valued growth of higher education in the town, supporting the hospital trust’s urgent need for key health worker accommodation, and acting as a catalyst for further development in the town centre.  A comprehensive presentation was provided to Members at the meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Board on 3 June that explained the Strategic, Commercial, Economic, Financial and Management cases underpinning the development project, which were outlined in much more detail in the private and confidential report.  Critically, the student accommodation scheme would act as a clear catalyst for wider regeneration in the Town Centre and Scarborough Borough through demonstrable civic leadership.  The Council’s investment could unlock a further £10m of external funding through central government’s Future High Street Fund.  The student accommodation scheme and the proposed town square proposals would also form cornerstone investments in Scarborough’s Town Deal Fund investment plan, which if successful, could deliver up to £25m of further investment from central government.

 

Both the Contract for Sale relating to the Council’s acquisition of the former Argos site from the Developer and a Funding Agreement relating to the Council’s funding and acquisition of the new building on the site were conditional. When all four of the conditions in the Contract for Sale were satisfied, then Council was obligated to purchase the former Argos site. 

At the same time as entering into the Contract for Sale with the Developer the Council would also enter into the Funding Agreement. The Funding Agreement facilitated the construction of the scheme by the Developer and the stage payment to the Developer from the Council of the costs of development. The Funding Agreement was conditional upon five conditions, including a financial viability condition. 

 

Mr Bradley acknowledged that there had been the obvious economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which now needed to be considered in terms of the deliverability of this project. This was especially important given the intention that this scheme would be the catalyst for levering in external funding to take forward the Council’s regeneration aspirations for Scarborough Town Centre. On that basis the Council had engaged KPMG to undertake an independent review of Coventry University’s financial standing and the potential impact of COVID-19 on their business model and future operations. The draft report of KPMG’s findings was attached to the P&C report.  The review had not highlighted any significant financial concerns that need to be specifically brought to the attention of members at this time.

He added  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.

13.

Scarborough Town Centre Regeneration (Scarborough Market Square Proposals)

To consider the report of the Director (RB) (reference 20/115) attached

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (RB) (Reference 20/115) in respect of proposals to develop a Scarborough Market Square.  Introducing the report, the Commercial Director, Mr Bradley explained that this report was subject to the approval of the recommendations contained within the previous report and contained four recommendations that Cabinet were asked to consider.  The report explained the intention to facilitate the formation of a Market Square at St Helens Square Scarborough in support of the proposals for the creation of student accommodation at the former Argos site and to act as a catalyst for wider regeneration activity within Scarborough Town Centre as highlighted within the Scarborough Town Centre Strategy and the emerging and complementary proposals for the Town Deal and Future High Street Funds.  The acquisition and repurposing of the former Argos site provided the best opportunity in a generation for this long held aspiration of creating good quality public realm in this location to become a reality.  Here too was an opportunity secure the future of the Market Hall by revitalising this venue and the surrounding area.  He added that officers had undertaken work to establish the business case for the creation of a Market Square in line with best practice “Green Book” appraisal methodology and using the Five Case approach comprising the Strategic, Economic, Commercial, Financial and Management Cases which were each detailed in the P&C report.  The total cost of the scheme was estimated within the private and confidential report and the Future High Street Fund and the Towns Fund provided the best opportunity to deliver the scheme.  The report outlines the complexity of the property acquisition strategy at paragraphs 3.24 onwards and at this stage Cabinet was recommended to approve that (£55k) budget be established in order to enter into final negotiations with the owners of relevant properties as explained in the report.  The action plan in the report explained the next steps – there was a significant amount of work to be undertaken with further reports due to be brought back to Cabinet later in the year.  Cabinet Members commended the scheme for its regenerative impact in a similar way to the student accommodation scheme, and for how the square would provide a key focal point for the town to draw visitors and residents.  In reply to a question by Councillor Jeffels, Mr Bradley confirmed that with the benefit of successful applications to the Future High Street Fund and Towns Fund, this scheme could potentially go ahead without the student accommodation scheme.  Councillor Atkinson who could not be present at the meeting put the following question to the Portfolio Holder: will the properties on St Helens Square opposite the main entrance to the Market Hall consisting of Victorian Terraces and a Mock Tudor pub be retained as part of the Towns heritage?  In reply, Councillor Colling commented that the exact form of the Market Square could not be confirmed and would depend on a number of outcomes such as planning  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

Travelodge Company Voluntary Agreement (CVA)

The Chairman made the following statement in relation to the Travelodge at St Nicholas Cliff, Scarborough.

 

‘Like me, I am sure you have all read in the national press, that Travelodge Hotels Ltd, are in the process of negotiating with their Landlords, a temporary two year reduction in rent across their entire property portfolio.  This is due to the Travelodge Group complying with the recent COVID-19 restrictions and they have been required to close almost all of their hotels from the 24 March causing significant disruption to its operations and financial performance.

 

Scarborough Borough Council purchased the Freehold interest of the building occupied by the Travelodge hotel group in October 2018 and we now find ourselves in the situation of negotiating through an independent third party, with the Travelodge Group that will result in the temporary loss of rental income to the Council for a two year period, before the previously agreed contractual rental income resumes after 2021 and for the remainder of the unexpired lease of over 22 years.

 

Following detailed and robust discussions with Officers, and with the support of my Cabinet colleagues, I will be approving an Urgent Leader’s report to agree to the terms of the temporary reduction, though you will appreciate the specific terms of the agreement with the Travelodge Group will need to remain private and confidential. 

 

The Chair of Overview & Scrutiny has been fully briefed on the matter.’