Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday, 20th October, 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:

No declarations of interest were received.

 

 

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 156 KB

To approve as a correct record and sign the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 September 2020 attached.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 15 September 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.  The questions and answers given at the meeting are set out below.

Q1.      Please confirm why the questions I raised and the written answers were not included in the Minutes of that meeting (or shown as an addendum to the Minutes)?

A:  Following the submission of his questions, Mr Corrigan was given adequate opportunity to take part in the virtual Cabinet meeting on 15 September through either online or telephone connection.  Mr Corrigan declined this invitation.  According to the Council’s Constitution (Section 4.1 Council Procedure Rules, paragraph 16.5), ‘If questioners who have submitted written questions are unable to be present the question will not be dealt with.’  Instead, the Chair chose to use his discretion and reply to Mr Corrigan in writing.

Q2.      Please confirm the names of the members and the officer titles who sat on the board that agreed to the purchase of the Travelodge.

A:  Appendix A3 of the Commercial Property Investment Strategy, which is a publicly available document, sets out the governance arrangements of the Property Investment Governance Board.   This is available on the Council’s website.

Q3.      Does the Council accept that a mistake was made when Travelodge was purchased, even if this is with the benefit of the knowledge of the subsequent events?

A:  Two similar questions in nature were asked at the Audit Committee meeting held on 23rd July as well as the September meeting of Full Council.  It has been explained previously that the Council has an approved Commercial Property Investment Strategy which underpins the Council’s commercial property investments. This strategy sets out the governance and risk management arrangements that the Council has in place for commercial property investment decisions and is drafted to follow CIPFA (the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy) best practice guidance. The Council’s decisions to invest in commercial property investments have fully complied with the governance, risk management and decision making arrangements set out within this Strategy.  The Council continues to receive a rental income which, over the life of the lease, more than covers the cost of both capital and interest repayments as well as providing a long term surplus income stream that is invested in front line services.

Q4.      Has the Council undertaken any discussions or negotiations with any third parties with a view to the disposal of its investment in the Travelodge Hotel?

A: No, the Council has not undertaken any discussions or negotiations with any third parties with a view to the disposal of its investment in the Travelodge Hotel.

Q5.      Has the Council had any discussions with Scotch Estates 1 Limited?

A: In order provide you with a categorical answer which covers all Council staff, your question is being processed as a Freedom of Information request.

Q6.      Has the Council considered the exercise of the break clause option that it received as part of the CVA?

A: Yes the Council has considered such a break clause and the Council  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 421 KB

To review the Cabinet’s Forward Plan (reference 20/189) attached.

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered the Forward Plan (Reference 20/189). 

RESOLVED that the Forward Plan be approved.

 

5.

Progress of Scrutiny of Executive Decisions

To receive an oral report by the Chief Executive.

Minutes:

The Monitoring Officer reported that the Cabinet’s decision dated 15 September in respect of the Council’s Agricultural Portfolio had been called in for scrutiny and would be considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Board the following day.

 

6.

Scarborough and Whitby Town Deals - Town Investment Plans pdf icon PDF 498 KB

To consider the report of the Director (RB) (reference 20/188) attached

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (RB) (Reference 20/164) in respect of the Town Investment Plans for the Scarborough and Whitby Town Deals.  Members were reminded that in late 2019 both Scarborough and Whitby were identified as two towns provided with the opportunity to secure up to £25m of investment each through the Government’s Town Deal programme.  The Borough Council was designated as the lead authority and accountable body to undertake the two stage process to secure the funding.  Stage 1 required the establishment of a Town Deal Board and the drafting of a Town Investment Plan (TIP) for each town for submission to government for assessment.  The TIPs set out the strategic ambitions for the transformation of each town in the three key prescribed areas of urban regeneration, planning and land use; skills and enterprise infrastructure; and connectivity; and were the culmination of some 10 months of intensive, in-depth and far reaching consultation, iterative investigation and project development activity with contributions made from all sections of the community and a wide range of stakeholders, specialists and interest groups.  The specific project proposals outlined in each TIP would contribute significantly to the delivery of the strategic ambitions of each town and if accepted by Government and subsequently funded would assist the borough in achieving transformative regeneration, improving socio economic performance and raising opportunity and aspirations.  The outcome of the bids was expected early in the new year, and if successful, Stage 2 would commence involving the development of detailed business cases, and securing of necessary consents and matched funding, overseen by the Town Deal Boards.  The Chairman then invited the Chair of each Town Deal Board (David Kerfoot, Scarborough and Gareth Edmunds, Whitby) to comment on the report, thanking both for all their hard work in leading these bids.  Mr Kerfoot commented how honoured we was to chair the Scarborough Town Deal Board in developing this exciting programme which had had to adapt over the last months to the task of supporting the Borough’s recovery from the pandemic.  This was a very competitive process but he commended the great strength of Scarborough bid which he saw as transformational, not only for the town and borough, but also for the region.  He noted the successful bid for the taster projects to be implemented in the next months, and that the main bid’s projects covered the important areas of connectivity; skills, education and enterprise; culture, leisure and special places; thriving town centre; wellbeing and social interaction; and resilience and sustainability.  He was impressed too by the high level of public engagement and consultation, particularly with younger people.  Mr Edmunds thanked council officers and consultants AECOM for their hard work in helping develop the bids in a relatively short period of time, and was grateful as well to the public for providing valuable feedback.  All efforts had been focused on carrying out Stage 1, but he noted this was just the start of the process, and looked forward to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Better Homes - use of Council land to support provision of affordable homes and supported living pdf icon PDF 464 KB

To consider the report of the Director (RB) (reference 20/180) attached

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (RB) (Reference 20/180) in respect of the Better Homes project to optimise use of the Council’s landholdings to deliver more affordable homes and supported accommodation.  Presenting his report, the Director, Mr Bradley reminded members that in order to achieve its aspiration of enabling access to a good quality homes for all, the Cabinet in May had committed to considering a variety of ways of using the Council’s landholdings to optimise numbers of affordable homes in the Borough, to maximise design and build quality, to promote environmental sustainability, and to harness the strategic potential of good quality affordable homes in contributing towards improvements in the economic profile, health and wellbeing and aspirational perspective of the Borough’s residents.  Mr Bradley then outlined the progress made since May in achieving this ambition, namely:

           Establishing an internal cross-departmental housing delivery project team and appropriate project governance, supported by external specialist technical advice as required

           A comprehensive asset challenge exercise to identify a number of Council owned assets suitable for use for housing delivery. High level asset appraisals of 36 sites had taken place to date, assessing location, size, possession, planning status, infrastructure, and development potential and constraints.

           Arising out of the initial asset challenge, officers had identified three sites within the Council’s ownership which had, in previous years, been considered by Cabinet as having potential for housing development, and in respect of which feasibility work has previously been carried out by Registered Housing Providers for the development of 100% affordable homes: land at Westway, Eastfield, land adjacent to Musham bank roundabout, Eastfield, and land at Scarborough Road, Seamer.

           An updated Strategic Housing Market Assessment (SHMA), due to be completed in November.

           Liaison with colleagues at North Yorkshire County Council to scope out requirements around the provision of support living accommodation.

Members were further advised that a structured preliminary market engagement exercise with Registered Providers of Social Housing and private developers was now well underway.  Fifteen written submissions had been received from market operators, which was a very positive response, and initial engagement discussions were taking place with a number of operators.  Based on this work, the emerging thinking for the preferred delivery approach would be presented to the Overview & Scrutiny Board in November for pre-decision oversight.  The collection of this data would enable officers to refine the Council’s requirements across a range of affordable housing and supported living products, to understand the market’s appetite and capacity to deliver against the Council’s objectives, and to assess and articulate the Council’s attitude towards risk and reward. These considerations would then inform the recommended delivery approach or approaches to come to the Cabinet in December, to then take forward to business case development stage.  Councillor Phillips who could not be present had asked for the following question to be put to the Cabinet.

‘Could the Cabinet members please advise how any further development in the South Scarborough area can be effected  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Homelessness: COVID-19 Recovery Plan pdf icon PDF 772 KB

To consider the report of the Director (NE) (reference 20/324) attached

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (NE) (Reference 20/324) in respect of a new Homelessness COVID-19 Recovery Plan.  Members were reminded how the pandemic had shone a light on the scale of the problem nationally and locally of single homeless people and rough sleeping.  The Government’s Everyone In initiative at the start of the pandemic meant that the number of households being supported by the council in temporary accommodation soared to over 100.  Detailed assessments of these people revealed that 42 were categorised in high need.  17 of this number had since been provided with permanent supported accommodation, whilst overall numbers in temporary accommodation had reduced to 61.  Although the situation had improved, the next months would present their own challenges including the end of the government embargo on private rented sector evictions.  In the short term, the report recommended the extension of the contract with Wheelhouse Ventures to provide temporary hotel accommodation, including that new units be dispersed across the Borough, rather than the current concentration in the South Cliff area of Scarborough.  Longer term, the report was looking to raise the council’s ambition in providing supported accommodation for this high needs cohort, building on the council’s well-established working relationship with the voluntary sector and County Council.  Further as a short/medium term action, the report recommended a joint commissioning exercise with the County Council to secure specialist supported accommodation for this cohort, boosted by the council’s successful bid to the government’s Next Steps Accommodation Programme.  The Chairman thanked the Housing Manager for his report and in his capacity as ward member for Weaponness and Ramshill, welcomed the steps to disperse the temporary accommodation to other locations in the borough because of the problems occasioned by the concentration in the South Cliff.    

RESOLVED that the Cabinet:

1)    Agrees to extend the contract with Wheelhouse Ventures to provide hotel rooms to accommodate homeless people and rough sleepers for a further period of 6 months on the terms as set out in this report. Net costs associated with this extension will be in the region of £256K and picked up as part of the overall Covid budget shortfall for 2020/21.

 

2)    Gives its strategic support to the longer term need to develop a new supported housing facility within the Borough to accommodate and support the resettlement of rough sleepers and instructs officers to set up a joint working group with officers from NYCC to take this work forward as a key workstream within the Councils Better Homes project.

 

3)    Agrees to enter into a new joint commissioning arrangement with NYCC to procure a specialist support provider for rough sleepers. This service once commissioned shall provide intensive wrap around support for around 30 sleepers within a mix of accommodation settings including Newburn House on Alma Square. The value of this commissioning arrangement shall be £280K per annum for the next three years inclusive of an £140K contribution from the Council. Note that the cost of this investment shall be met  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Exclusion of the public

Minutes:

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

 

10.

Scarborough Spa, Cliff Lift, Peasholm Cafe and Whitby Pavilion pdf icon PDF 454 KB

To consider the report of the Director (NE) (reference 20/181) attached

 

Minutes:

The Cabinet considered a report by the Director (NE) (Reference 20/181) in respect of proposed arrangements for the future operation of Scarborough Spa, Cliff Lift, Peasholm Cafe and Whitby Pavilion.  Introducing the report, the Portfolio Holder, Councillor Kershaw highlighted the cultural and economic importance of both Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion to their respective towns and wider afield, and looked forward to the exciting opportunities presented by their returning in house.  He commended the Director, Mr Edwards and his team for all their work behind the report in these challenging times.  Mr Edwards then provided further details of the background to the report and the ongoing negotiations with Sheffield International Venues (SIV) to transfer the operation of the venues back to the council with effect from 1 January 2021.  SIV took over the operation of the Scarborough Spa, Whitby Pavilion and Scarborough Cliff Lift at the end of September 2012. The contract was for a period of 10 years to expire at the end of September 2022.  In April 2014, SIV also took over the operation of Peasholm Café and this agreement was due to terminate at the same time.  The annual Service Level Agreement to SIV was £577k.  Recent years had seen SIV turn to the council for additional support to meet a number of challenges such as the essential cliff stabilisation works at the Scarborough Spa, and of course more recently the global pandemic.  Sheffield City Council provided financial support to SIV and, given the significant financial issues they themselves were experiencing, were asking that SIV focus on their local area and that any other contracts, especially those that do not generate a profit, were critically evaluated.  At the start of the pandemic, SIV had requested the council to consider topping up the government’s furlough scheme payment to their staff of 80% which was turned down.  Out of these discussions, it emerged that SIV would look favourably on the early termination of the contract with the council on terms acceptable to both parties.  These discussions had been carried out in good faith and had led to the progress made and to the recommendations outlined in the report.  When SIV started consulting with staff on redundancies in the summer, it became clear that the likelihood of Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion re-opening in the foreseeable future was receding, which was unacceptable to the council, given the importance of these venues to the local community and visitor economy.  Further negotiations resulted in the Cliff Lift and Peasholm Café re-opening for the summer season.  Now following these discussions, officers had prepared a budget for January-March 2021, and another for 2021-22 based on the council operation of these venues.  The January-March budget was at no additional cost to the council, and reflected plans to prepare the venues for re-opening in the spring.  The 2021-22 budget included a contingency to cover the worst case scenario of the Scarborough Spa and Whitby Pavilion being unable to re-open, but it was hoped that this would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.