Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall, Scarborough

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of interests. pdf icon PDF 43 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Mortimer declared a personal interest in agenda item 6, Merger of Yorkshire Coast Homes and Coast and Country Housing Association Limited (18/78) since she was a Council appointed representative on the Board of Yorkshire Coast Homes.

 

Councillor Chatt declared a personal and prejudicial interest in agenda item 6, Merger of Yorkshire Coast Homes and Coast and Country Housing Association Limited (18/78) in his capacity as a Council appointed representative on the Board of Yorkshire Coast Homes and the Cabinet Member for Public Health and Housing.  (Councillor Chatt had obtained a dispensation from the Monitoring Officer to take part in the debate and determination of this item since the motion under consideration was directly relevant to the his portfolio. In addition, the Councillor Chatt lived within an area in which there was a high percentage of social housing, providing him with a valuable insight into the concerns and problems associated with the same)

 

Councillor Randerson declared a personal interest in agenda item 9, To receive statements from each of the Cabinet Members and deal with any questions arising from those statements in relation to the Clock Cafe since he knew the owner.

 

 

2.

Apologies for Absence.

Minutes:

See above.

 

 

3.

Minutes of the meeting of the Council held on 2 March 2018 to be read or taken as read as the case may be. pdf icon PDF 125 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Price commented that his name had been omitted from the list of those present at the meeting on 2 March 2018.

RESOLVED that, subject to the above amendment, the minutes of the meeting held on 2 March 2018 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

 

 

4.

To consider any announcements by the Chief Executive

Minutes:

There were no announcements.

 

 

5.

Questions (if any) of which notice shall have been given.

Minutes:

The Chief Executive advised that no questions had been received.

 

 

6.

To consider and pass resolutions on the following 'A' items:-

6a

Merger of Yorkshire Coast Homes and Coast and Country Housing Association Limited (18/78) pdf icon PDF 53 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The recommendations in the extract minute from the Cabinet were proposed by Councillor Derek Bastiman and duly seconded.  The Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Housing, Councillor Chatt commended the proposed merger to Members, noting that a stronger, larger organisation would result, benefiting from Coast and Country Housing’s broader experience, led by a more professional board and more able to deliver the social housing and related services the Borough needed.  Councillor Inman then addressed the meeting, raising concerns about certain aspects of the report: that the In-depth Assessment of Yorkshire Coast Homes by the Homes and Communities Agency had not in the end taken place (there had been an internal Options Appraisal instead), that clearly mistakes had been made by YCH, and the poor tenant response to the limited public consultation on the merger proposals.  She felt the information in the report was incomplete, there was a lack of transparency, and proposed instead that the Council defer its decision, pending a wider public consultation exercise and In-depth Assessment by the HCA , to enable the Council to make a more informed decision on this important matter.  Councillor Derek Bastiman rejected the criticism that the process had been less than transparent and that mistakes had been made by the YCH Board, noting the Overview and Scrutiny Board’s constructive pre-decision scrutiny of the proposals as recognised by the Board’s Chair, Councillor Siddons, and that YCH Board Members, including Members of this Council, had worked tirelessly since the inception of the housing association to deliver decent homes to tenants.  However, times had changed, and YCH needed to move to the next level with the support and experience of Coast and Country Housing which had demonstrated the excellence of their product, including extra care housing, which he hoped could be delivered in the Borough by the new housing association.  Councillor Randerson applauded the vision and professionalism of the two housing associations’ Chairs and Chief Executives as evidenced at the recent Overview and Scrutiny Board meeting, and envisaged a bright future for the Borough’s tenants.  He added that there was little sense in deferring the decision, since from midnight, the Council would have no say in the matter anyway as new regulations came into force to reduce the level of public sector influence in Registered Providers.  Instead the two Chief Executives had committed to regular attendance at the Overview and Scrutiny Board to enable Borough councillors to monitor the new organisation’s progress.  However, Councillor Randerson did feel the Borough Council should bear some responsibility for overseeing the effective demise of YCH and for their failure to build enough affordable homes.  Councillor Derek Bastiman firmly rejected this accusation.  Councillor Chatt commended YCH’s current level of tenant involvement, on which the new organisation sought to build.

RESOLVED that the Council:

  1. Provide in principle support for YCH to merge with CCH, noting that in doing so the Council gives up its right to nominate 24% of the Board Membership, and therefore:

 

i       Approve the Heads of Terms for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6a

7.

Commercial Strategy (18/86) pdf icon PDF 39 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The recommendations in the extract minute from the Cabinet were proposed by Councillor Derek Bastiman and duly seconded.  On behalf of the Labour Group, Councillor Randerson voiced his in principle support for this and for the Property Investment Strategy to help secure frontline services at risk of cuts.  Councillor Jefferson raised concerns at recent excessive increases in harbour rents in the context of the aim in the Commercial Strategy that fees and charges reflect market rates.

RESOLVED that the Commercial Strategy annexed at Appendix 2 to the report be approved and adopted.

 

Reasons

To ensure that the Council maintains a robust financial position to secure the continued sustainability of services, to support improved outcomes for residents, businesses and visitors, and to advance the delivery of corporate priorities.

 

 

8.

Commercial Property Investment Strategy (18/87) pdf icon PDF 73 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The recommendations in the extract minute from the Cabinet were proposed by Councillor Derek Bastiman and duly seconded.  Councillor Maw welcomed the principle in the strategy of borrowing at historically low interest rates to invest in property for net financial returns.  Councillor Randerson repeated his question at the Council meeting on 2 March about whether Council Tax and business rates could be levied on unoccupied commercial properties to which he was still awaiting a response.  He noted the recommended size of borrowing of £30m from the Public Works Loan Board to support the implementation of the strategy which would need careful monitoring.

RESOLVED that full Council:

 

(i)            approve the proposed Commercial Property Investment Strategy (the Strategy) described in this report and attached at Appendix A, together with the objectives, Prudential Indicators and limits, investment criteria and governance arrangements, and resolve that the Strategy be adopted;

 

(ii)          approve a capital fund of £30m funded from borrowing from the Public Works Loan Board and a revenue budget of £100k funded from the Council’s Investment Fund, to facilitate the purchase of properties and to pursue development opportunities that meet the criteria contained within the Strategy;

 

(iii)         approve the changes required to the current approved and operational borrowing limits and associated Prudential Indicators as set out in Appendix B, in order to accommodate the increased prudential borrowing requirements set out in this report;

 

(iv)         amend Article 8.9 (ii) of the Constitution to alter the terms of reference of the Audit Committee to include

'(j)  receive quarterly reports on the implementation of the Commercial Property Investment Strategy and make any recommendations to full Council'

 

(v)          delegate authority to the Audit Committee to approve the risk/ rate of return scoring matrix referred to at Appendix A.2.1

 

(vi)         delegate authority to the Director (LD) to make the necessary amendments to the Constitution arising out of this report

 

And accordingly note the Cabinet’s approval of:

 

(i)            the proposed governance arrangements for the Property Investment Governance Board (PIGB) and the Property Selection Team (PST) set out at paragraph 6 of this report and at Appendix A3 of the Strategy (with the amendment that the relevant Portfolio Holder with investments responsibility sit on the PIGB instead of the Deputy Leader of the Council)

(ii)          the delegation of authority to the Commercial Director, following consultation with the PIGB, to approve expenditure and to acquire and/or dispose of such legal estates and interests in land and to make such property investments as are within the overall limit and criteria of the Strategy, subject to the Commercial Director preparing a business case and risk assessment in line with the Strategy, and to take any and all decisions necessary for the implementation of the Strategy, save for where authority is reserved to the Leader of the Council under the Strategy

 

Reasons

·           To enable the Council to build a stronger commercial property portfolio through the purchase of prime or nearly prime investment property within the Borough and wider Local Enterprise Partnership regions that can  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8.

9.

Any reports going direct to Council

9a

Appointments to Committees 2018/19 and Changes to the Council's Representation on Outside Bodies pdf icon PDF 152 KB

To consider a report by the Director (LD) (Reference 18/88 attached)

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Council considered a report by the Director (LD) (Reference 18/88) in respect of the appointments to committees for 2018/19 and changes to the Council’s representation on outside bodies.  Councillor Inman was critical of the Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Housing, Councillor Chatt’s appointment to the Board of Yorkshire Coast Homes, referring to the mistakes made by YCH and to what she believed to be a conflict of interest.  Councillor Chatt noted his dispensation to take part in agenda item 6(i) and that the newly merged housing association would have no Borough Council representation on its board.  The Leader, Councillor Bastiman and other councillors commended Councillor Chatt’s qualities and experience to represent the Council on the Board of YCH at this critical juncture.

RESOLVED that the Council:

(i)   notes the Leader’s decision to appoint Councillor Heather Phillips to replace Councillor Joe Plant as Portfolio Holder for Transformation with effect from the latter’s appointment as Mayor for 2018/19;

 

(ii)  considers the lists of nominations to the committees for 2018/19 in Appendix A of this report and determines the appointments to be made for ratification at the Annual Meeting of the Council on 17 May 2018;

 

(iii) notes the following mid-term changes to the Council’s representation on outside bodies approved by the Leader of the Council in 2017/18 for the remainder of the life of this Council (until May 2019):

·         Councillor Chatt’s appointment to replace Councillor Donohue-Moncrieff as one of the Council’s representatives on the Board of Yorkshire Coast Homes

·         Councillor Vesey’s appointment to replace Councillor Chatt as one of the Council’s representatives on the Board of Raincliffe Woods Community Enterprise

·         Councillor Jenkinson’s appointment to replace Councillor Nock as the Council’s representative on the PATROL (Parking and Traffic Regulations Outside London) Joint Committee

·         Councillor Barnett’s appointment to replace Councillor Siddons as one of the Council’s representatives on the Scarborough Municipal Charity.

 

Reasons

To ensure the good governance of the Council.

 

 

10.

To receive a statement by the Leader and deal with any questions arising from that statement. pdf icon PDF 48 KB

Minutes:

Councillor Derek Bastiman presented his Leader’s statement.  Members then put questions about the recent Tour de Yorkshire event, one casting doubt on its economic benefits in the context of complaints by businesses in Scarborough about lack of footfall, and another asking for more commercial support for the event to remove the burden from local Council Tax payers.  Another Member spoke of the event’s success reflected in positive comments made by businesses in the villages en route. Eastfield ward Councillor Randerson raised concerns about the large numbers of new housing being built in his ward without due regard to infrastructure and facilities, and queried why the new modular housing planned could not be built in other areas of the Borough.  He reiterated his call for Eastfield town to come first in the masterplanning exercise, and requested more detail about the critical junction improvements mentioned in the statement.  In reply, Councillor Bastiman referred the questioner to the County Council in respect of the critical junction works, and recorded his disbelief at the negative comments about the Tour de Yorkshire when clearly it had attracted so many visitors to the Borough.  He would welcome modular housing in any area of the Borough, subject to planning consent and viability assessments.

 

 

11.

To receive statements from each of the Cabinet Members and deal with any questions arising from those statements. pdf icon PDF 67 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Chatt presented his statement as Portfolio Holder for Public Health and Housing.  Members then put questions about the herring gull disruption and dispersal programme, the new 30 unit block for elderly people on the site of Braeburn House, the £200k cost of the new Scarborough Market Hall website, and the capital improvements at Woodland Crematorium.  In response, Councillor Chatt commended the herring gull disruption and dispersal programme in the interests of public health and safety which this year had extended to parts of Filey and included outreach work in schools.  He would seek reassurances from Yorkshire Coast Homes that the new facility for elderly people in Eastfield would be solely for that age group.  Councillor Chatt undertook to raise the provision of two bicycle stands at Woodland Crematorium with officers, explained that the surface of the area directly outside the cemetery entrance had been improved so cars could park there, and denied that buses had ceased to stop at the Crematorium because of problems turning around.  Councillor Mallory joined Councillor Chatt in applauding the improvements at the crematorium and encouraging councillors to attend the Open Day on 16 May.  Lastly, Councillor Chatt explained that the Market Hall website had been funded through the Coastal Communities Fund, and would achieve its full functionality as the Market Hall developed.

 

Councillor Cockerill presented his statement as Portfolio Holder for Major Projects providing updates on the Spa Cliff Stabilisation, Whitby Piers and Filey Flood Alleviation Scheme projects.  In respect of the Spa Cliff Stabilisation project, detailed discussions and negotiations had been successfully concluded and the contract with Balfour Beatty to undertake the work had been signed.  The contractors would be carrying out the preliminary mobilisation work and were expected on site in the near future.  Some small scale activity was scheduled to take place the following week, although this was only detailed survey work associated with such items as closure of footpaths, creation of access points and establishment of vehicle parking.  This major project was scheduled to be complete in Quarter 4 of 2019 allowing some flexibility for the vagaries of coastal weather conditions. 

 

Councillor Cockerill expressed his sincere thanks to all those involved, in particular the officers Carol Rehill, Martin Pedley and Chris Bourne who had borne the brunt of this intense phase of work.  He added that the Council would continue to work closely with Balfour Beatty to ensure regular communication and engagement was maintained with the South Cliff community throughout the course of the project.  He then reminded Members about the Council’s Coast and Flood Protection Fund and that two months ago the Borough’s allocation from the Coast Protection Fund to the Whitby Piers project had been significantly increased.  This additional contribution had been warmly welcomed by the Local Enterprise Partnership which led to the award of a grant of £500k to the project. 

 

Councillor Cockerill was delighted to inform the Council that the discussions and negotiations in relation to the Whitby Piers project had been successfully completed, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

To receive a statement from the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board and deal with any questions arising from that statement pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Minutes:

In Councillor Siddons’ absence, the Vice-Chair, Councillor Lynskey presented the statement of the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny Board.  The Leader commended the Board’s scrutiny of the Yorkshire Coast Homes and Coast and Country Housing Merger and thanked the Chair and Vice-Chair of the Board for their work.

 

 

13.

To receive Minutes of the Council's Executive and Committees published since Council last met and appended hereto.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meetings be received.