Venue: Town Hall, Scarborough
Contact: St John Harris
In attendance: Councillors Eric Broadbent and Vanda Inman
Members are reminded of the need to consider whether they have a personal
or prejudicial interest to declare in any of the items on this agenda. If so, the
nature of the interest must be declared at the start of the meeting. In
addition, the attached form must be completed and passed to the Committee
Administrator. The Officers will be pleased to advise, if necessary, and any
request for assistance should be made, in the first instance, to the
Committee Administrator whose name appears at the end of this agenda.
Ideally, such advice should be sought before the day of the meeting so that
time is available to consider any uncertainty that might arise.
There were no declarations of interest.
To consider any public questions submitted which are relevant to the business of the Overview and Scrutiny Board.
There were no public questions received.
Exclusion of the public
Private and Confidential Appendices
Although the following report contains private and confidential appendices, it has been written so that as much as possible can be discussed in public. However, it may become necessary to discuss the content of these appendices and therefore the following motion will be considered:
“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 item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information (as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act), namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information)”.
The Chairman noted that the following 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 following motion was adopted for part of the Board’s deliberations as indicated in minute 4. below:
RESOLVED 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 item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information (as defined in Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act), namely information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).
To consider the report of the Property Selection Team (reference 18/209) in connection with the Urgent Key Decision of the Director (RB) dated 17 September 2018, and to determine whether to recommend that the Director amends his decision to approve:
(i) the acquisition of the freehold estate in the property known as Travelodge Hotel, St Nicholas Cliff, Scarborough, subject to the existing occupational lease to Travelodge Hotels Limited, on the terms set out in this report.
The Director’s decision has been called in for urgent scrutiny pursuant to Section 4.7 of the Constitution, additional Overview and Scrutiny Board Procedure Rules, paragraph 10 (vi).
Call-In Form, Decision Notice and report to the Director (RB) (reference 18/209) are all attached.
The Board reviewed the Urgent Key Decision of the Director (RB) dated 17 September 2018 in respect of the acquisition of the Travelodge Hotel, St Nicholas Cliff, Scarborough. The Director’s decision had been called in for urgent scrutiny pursuant to Section 4.7 of the Constitution, additional Overview and Scrutiny Board Procedure Rules, paragraph 10 (vi). Members had before them, for reference, the report to the Director (RB) (reference 18/209), the Decision Notice, and the Call-In Form. In the absence of the call-in originator, Councillor Ritchie who had given his apologies for the meeting, the Chair, Councillor Colling addressed the Board in support of the call-in. The Chair noted that this was the first proposed investment under the Commercial Property Investment Strategy agreed at the May Council meeting. She contended that an investment of this magnitude and urgency required detailed scrutiny and the awareness and involvement of all councillors. It was her view therefore that this should have been an in principle matter for full Council. Given that the notice of the key decision was made on Friday, 7 September, and full Council had met on Monday, 3 September, should not councillors have been advised that this investment was under consideration? Clearly, some detailed work had been done by that stage and this opportunity to inform all Members was not taken.
The Commercial Director, Richard Bradley then delivered a response in support of his key decision. Members were reminded of the financial challenges facing local government and that this Council had a projected budget gap of around £5 million over the next three years. A number of measures had been put in place to ensure the Council set a balanced budget without having to resort to large scale cuts to front line services. These included the new Commercial Property Investment Strategy ('the Strategy'). On 17 April 2018 the Cabinet approved the delegation of authority to the Commercial Director, following consultation with a Property Investment Governance Board, to approve expenditure and to acquire and dispose of such legal estates and interests in land and to make such property investments within the overall limits and criteria of the Strategy, subject to the preparation of a Business Case and Risk Assessment in line with the Strategy. On 14 May 2018 the Strategy was approved by full Council with cross party support together with a capital fund of £30 million funded from Public Works Loan Board borrowing, plus a revenue budget of £100,000 funded from the Council's Investment Fund, to facilitate the purchase of properties and to pursue development opportunities meeting the criteria set out in the Strategy. The Council's Financial Strategy and Medium Term Financial Plan factored in a net annual return of £600k to be delivered through this Strategy before 2021. Two Member briefing sessions on Commercial Property Investment were delivered on 8 & 9 May. Copies of the presentation were provided to all Elected Members.
Members were further advised that the Council's Property Selection Team had identified an opportunity to acquire an ... view the full minutes text for item 4.