Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet
Tuesday 13th July 2021 5.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Campus, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE

Contact: Alison Marston 

Media

Items
No. Item

15.

APOLOGY

Additional documents:

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor F.Thomson (Executive Member, Housing and Climate Change).

16.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 15 June 2021 (previously circulated).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 15 June 2021 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

17.

ACTIONS STATUS REPORT pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the status of actions agreed at the last Cabinet meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The status of actions agreed at the Cabinet meeting on 15 June 2021 in the report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) was noted.

18.

DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS BY MEMBERS

To note declarations of Members’ disclosable pecuniary interests, non-disclosable pecuniary interests and non-pecuniary interests in respect of items on the Agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors S.Boulton and T.Kingsbury declared a non-pecuniary interest in items on the Agenda as Members of Hertfordshire County Council.

19.

ITEMS REQUIRING KEY DECISION

To consider the following items for decision in the current Forward Plan:-

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following items for decision in the current Forward Plan were considered:-

19a

Gosling Masterplan (Forward Plan Reference FP1061) pdf icon PDF 241 KB

Report of the Chief Executive on the redevelopment of Gosling Sports Park.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)   Cabinet approved the establishment of a Cross Party Member Procurement Board, and that the proposed governance structure is adopted for the project.

 

(2)   Cabinet delegated the approval of the memorandum of understanding, once drafted, to the Head of Resources in consultation with the Chief Executive, Monitoring Officer, Executive Member, (Environment, Planning, Estates and Development) and Executive Member, (Leisure and Community Safety).

Minutes:

Report of the Chief Executive on the redevelopment of Gosling Sports Park.

 

(1)   The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

(1)     Cabinet approved the establishment of a Cross Party Member Procurement Board, and that the proposed governance structure is adopted for the project.

 

(2)     Cabinet delegated the approval of the memorandum of understanding, once drafted, to the Head of Resources in consultation with the Chief Executive, Monitoring Officer, Executive Member, (Environment, Planning, Estates and Development) and Executive Member, (Leisure and Community Safety).

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

In February 2020, it was agreed that a master planning exercise to be undertaken on the Gosling Sports Park site to consider how it could effectively accommodate the needs, priorities and recommendations for indoor and outdoor sports facilities as set out in the Sports Strategy.

 

An application was made to One Public Estate funding and the Council was informed recently that we would be awarded £250k in the form of a recyclable loan to be spent on a master plan. 

 

The funding application included areas of land that were leased to or owned by other organisations and were shown in Appendix A.  A Partnership Board had therefore been established between the Council, Greenwich Leisure Limited, Stanborough School, Hertfordshire County Council and Hertfordshire Constabulary.  It was proposed that a Memorandum of Understanding would be put in place to formalise the obligations of each of these organisations.

 

As a number of procurement decisions would need to be undertaken associated with the production of a master plan, such as appointing a design team and specialist consultants.  A new Cross Party Procurement Board would need to be established and with a membership of seven members.

19b

Friendship House (Forward Plan Reference FP1059) pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Report of the Chief Executive and Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) on an update on the potential redevelopment opportunities at Friendship House, Hatfield.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)   Cabinet noted the content of the report and the potential for development of the site to provide a new community centre and residential dwellings.

 

(2)   Cabinet noted that more detailed viability work on the identified options will be undertaken, including pre-planning advice, a comprehensive transport survey and financial appraisals, to determine if a redevelopment of the site to provide additional homes would be possible and if so, what the costs and benefits would be.

 

(3)   Cabinet approved the principle of enabling the existing Friendship House building to be used for community or charitable use as outlined in paragraph 3.13 and that delegated authority is granted to the Head of Resources in consultation with the Executive Member for Environment, Planning, Estates and Development to agree the final details.

Minutes:

Report of the Chief Executive and Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) on an update on the potential redevelopment opportunities at Friendship House, Hatfield.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

(1)     Cabinet noted the content of the report and the potential for development of the site to provide a new community centre and residential dwellings.

 

(2)     Cabinet noted that more detailed viability work on the identified options will be undertaken, including pre-planning advice, a comprehensive transport survey and financial appraisals, to determine if a redevelopment of the site to provide additional homes would be possible and if so, what the costs and benefits would be.

 

(3)     Cabinet approved the principle of enabling the existing Friendship House building to be used for community or charitable use as outlined in paragraph 3.13 and that delegated authority is granted to the Head of Resources in consultation with the Executive Member for Environment, Planning, Estates and Development to agree the final details.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

An update was provided to members of Cabinet on the potential redevelopment opportunities at Friendship House, Hatfield, following a previous report to Cabinet in February.  The building was currently leased by the trustees of the charity Hatfield and District Age Concern who provided a day centre at the site.

 

The trustees had closed the centre but still held the lease for the site.  Negotiations continue regarding the existing lease.

 

The site has quite a large footprint, which presented opportunities for redevelopment of the site.  Any proposal for redeveloping the site would include reprovision of the community facility.

 

Initial feasibility had been undertaken which demonstrated that it may be possible to redevelop the site, providing up to thirteen flats and a modern community facility.

 

The next step was to carry out more detailed viability works, including seeking pre-planning advice and completing financial appraisals.

 

In the meantime, the Council could seek to enable a short-term use of the building, although there were limited options, and these would be subject to negotiations with the existing tenant.

19c

Public Space Protection Order Review (Forward Plan Reference FP1045) pdf icon PDF 221 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) on the proposed extension of Public Spaces Protection Order for Hatfield Town Centre.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)   Cabinet approved a three-year extension to the current Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

 

(2)   Cabinet approved that a further statutory consultation should be undertaken to ascertain more accurate public and stakeholder opinion on a second issue, namely widening the area that the PSPO covers and whether the resourcing of this is possible.

 

(3)   Subject to the PSPO coverage extension being approved, it is recommended that resources to manage and enforce the PSPO are reviewed at this point.

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) on the proposed extension of Public Spaces Protection Order for Hatfield Town Centre.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

(1)     Cabinet approved a three-year extension to the current Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO).

 

(2)     Cabinet approved that a further statutory consultation should be undertaken to ascertain more accurate public and stakeholder opinion on a second issue, namely widening the area that the PSPO covers and whether the resourcing of this is possible.

 

(3)     Subject to the PSPO coverage extension being approved, it is recommended that resources to manage and enforce the PSPO are reviewed at this point.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

The Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) is one tool that the Council and the police have available to them to impose restrictions and to deal with a particular nuisance that affects the quality of life of those in the locality. 

 

The conditions of the current PSPO deal with nuisance behaviours related to street drinking, aggressive begging and street homelessness.

 

There is currently a PSPO in place in Hatfield town centre and surrounding areas which is due to expire on the 30 July 2021.  Before a PSPO can be discharged, extended or varied, the Council is obliged to consult with key stakeholders, including members of the public.

 

Following a public consultation in February and March 2021, the Council received a response from 167 consultees. From the consultation, 98% would like to see the PSPO extended for a further 3 years.

 

From the consultation, 42% of respondents also indicated that they would like the PSPO to be varied to include other areas and restrictions.  This would require further consultation with key stakeholders and business and would also require a review of resources to enforce the PSPO.

19d

Proposal to purchase 38 flats via the Affordable Housing Programme (Forward Plan Reference FP1060) pdf icon PDF 142 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) on the turnkey Housing development arrangement with Lovells Partnership Ltd for the purchase of 38 units at Block 1, 1-9 Town Centre, Hatfield.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)   Cabinet agreed to the purchase of the 38 units at Block 1, 1 to 9 Town Centre, Hatfield, at the price of £6.505M and subject to planning approval of amendments as set out in paragraph 3.3 and a suitable legal agreement.

 

(2)   That, subject to approval of 2.1, Cabinet recommended to Council that a Housing Revenue Account (HRA) capital budget be approved for £3.383m for 2021/22 funded from increase in the borrowing requirement, and Cabinet noted that the remaining budget requirement for the scheme would be incorporated into the 2022/23 budget setting process.

Minutes:

Report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) on the turnkey Housing development arrangement with Lovells Partnership Ltd for the purchase of 38 units at Block 1, 1-9 Town Centre, Hatfield.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

(1)  Cabinet agreed to the purchase of the 38 units at Block 1, 1 to 9 Town Centre, Hatfield, at the price of £6.505M and subject to planning approval of amendments as set out in paragraph 3.3 and a suitable legal agreement.

 

(2)  That, subject to approval of 2.1, Cabinet recommended to Council that a Housing Revenue Account (HRA) capital budget be approved for £3.383m for 2021/22 funded from increase in the borrowing requirement, and Cabinet noted that the remaining budget requirement for the scheme would be incorporated into the 2022/23 budget setting process.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

The Council had an opportunity to enter into a turnkey agreement to purchase 38 completed apartments at 1-9 Town Centre Hatfield for £6.505M, to be provided as social rented housing, managed within the Council’s Housing Revenue Account.  A turnkey agreement is where the units are already designed, constructed and ready for occupation on a fixed date and at an agreed price. 

 

The land, which was owned by the Council, formed part of the Council’s regeneration plans for Hatfield and the Council had entered into a Development Agreement with Lovells Partnerships Ltd to develop the site.

 

Planning approval had been achieved at 1 -9 Town Centre for the development of 71 residential units and via a separate application, a further 80 units at Link Drive, Hatfield.  25% of the total (38 of 151) are required to be affordable.

 

A total of 38 units (23 two bedroom and 15 one-bedroom apartments) would be allocated for affordable housing across both sites and for ease of management and subject to planning approval, it had been agreed with Lovells Partnerships Ltd that all the affordable units could be located at Block 1, 1-9 Town Centre.

 

The anticipated start on site is August 2021 and the completion of the development is February 2023.

 

The total cost of the purchase is £6.505M, of which £3.383M will be incurred in 2021/22.  An increase in the capital budget for 2021/22 is required and approval for this will be sought at Full Council on 14 July 2021.  The remaining budget would be covered in the 2022/23 budget process.

 

The project had a positive net present value taking account of the residual asset value.  It represented better value for the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) than individual open market purchases, and it helps to absorb right-to-buy receipts.  It is not easy to find individual sites on this scale for our Affordable Housing Programme, and therefore represents a good opportunity for the Council.

19e

Revenue and Benefits - Risk Based Verification Policy (Forward Plan Reference FP1062) pdf icon PDF 216 KB

Report of the Chief Executive on Revenues and Benefits and the introduction of risk based verification for the assessment of benefit claims.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)   Cabinet approved the use of risk based verification, and the policy included in the exempt report on this matter.

 

(2)   Cabinet agreed to delegate future reviews and updates to the policy to the Section 151 Officer in consultation with the Executive Member for Resources.

Minutes:

Report of the Chief Executive on Revenues and Benefits and the introduction of risk based verification for the assessment of benefit claims.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

(1)  Cabinet approved the use of risk based verification, and the policy included in the exempt report on this matter.

 

(2)  Cabinet agreed to delegate future reviews and updates to the policy to the Section 151 Officer in consultation with the Executive Member for Resources.

 

(2)        Reasons for the Decision

 

The purpose of the report was to propose the introduction of a risk-based verification process for the assessment of benefit claims.

 

The proposal, explained in the report, formed one of the key components of the transformation of the revenues and benefits process as part of the Modernisation Programme.

 

The approach had already been adopted successfully by a number of Councils, and would allow us to focus our assessment resources on those claims where the risk of fraud is judged to be greatest.

 

The recommended policies were set out in the exempt report on the matter.

19f

Handside Traffic Regulation Order (Forward Plan Reference FP1053) pdf icon PDF 117 KB

Recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 24 June 2021 on the Introduction of Resident Permit Parking Scheme, Parking Places and other waiting restrictions, various roads, Handside Ward, Welwyn Garden City.

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)   “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, Handside, Welwyn Garden City) (Restriction of Waiting, Parking Places and Permit Parking Zones) Order 2021”

Cabinet agreed to proceed with the creation of the amended traffic regulation order for the reasons set out in the report.

 

(2)   “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, Handside, Welwyn Garden City) (Prohibition of Stopping and Waiting on Verge or Footway) Order 2020 (Amendment No.1) Order 2021”

Cabinet agreed to proceed with the creation of the amended traffic regulation order for the reasons set out in the report.

Minutes:

Recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 24 June 2021 on the Introduction of Resident Permit Parking   Scheme, Parking Places and other waiting restrictions, various roads, Handside Ward, Welwyn Garden City.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

(1)  “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, Handside, Welwyn Garden City) (Restriction of Waiting, Parking Places and Permit Parking Zones) Order 2021”

Cabinet agreed to proceed with the creation of the amended traffic regulation order for the reasons set out in the report.

 

(2)  “The Borough of Welwyn Hatfield (Various Roads, Handside, Welwyn Garden City) (Prohibition of Stopping and Waiting on Verge or Footway) Order 2020 (Amendment No.1) Order 2021”

Cabinet agreed to proceed with the creation of the amended traffic regulation order for the reasons set out in the report.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

Handside 4 was the last of a series of stages on the Handside parking scheme.

19g

Article 4 Direction - Employment Sites (Forward Plan Reference FP1044) pdf icon PDF 226 KB

Recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 24 June 2021 on the Article 4 Direction – Employment Sites.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Cabinet agreed the confirmation of the Article 4 Direction covering the most important employment sites in the Borough, to start on 1 February 2022.

Minutes:

Recommendation from the meeting of the Cabinet Planning and Parking Panel on 24 June 2021 on the Article 4 Direction – Employment Sites.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

Cabinet agreed the confirmation of the Article 4 Direction covering the most important employment sites in the Borough, to start on 1 February 2022.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

In recent years there had been an expansion of permitted development rights whereby certain types of development no longer require planning permission. If they feel that there are significant adverse impacts as a result of these, local planning authorities can put in place Article 4 directions removing permitted development rights in identified areas.

 

One impact in Welwyn Hatfield had been loss of employment space arising from the permitted development right which enabled buildings in employment use to be converted to residential use.

 

An Article 4 Direction to remove this right on our largest employment sites came into force in October 2020.

 

In response to new permitted development rights enabling the demolition of buildings in employment use (introduced in August 2020), a new article 4 was made and consulted on in February and March this year.

 

The consultation attracted 11 responses, mainly from residents but also from the Hertfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership and a Parish Council.

20.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

The Cabinet is asked to resolve:

 

That under Section 100(A)(2) and (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be now excluded from the meeting for Items 10 and 11 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of confidential or exempt information as defined in Section 100(A)(3) and Paragraph 3 (private financial or business information) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (as amended).

 

In resolving to exclude the public in respect of the exempt information, it is considered that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That under Section 100(A)(2) and (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be now excluded from the meeting for Agenda item 10 (Minute 21 refer) on the grounds that they involved the likely disclosure of confidential or exempt information as defined in Section 100A(3) and paragraph 3 (private financial or business information) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (as amended). 

 

In resolving to exclude the public in respect of the exempt information, it was considered that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighed the public interest in disclosing the information.

21.

ITEMS OF AN EXEMPT NATURE REQUIRING KEY DECISION

To consider the following items of an exempt nature:-

 

Minutes:

The following items of an exempt nature for decision were considered:-

21a

Housing Maintenance Contract (Forward Plan Reference FP1041)

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) on the Housing Maintenance Service Award of Contract.

Decision:

Cabinet agreed with the unanimous views of the Procurement Board recommendation to:

 

(1)   Award the housing maintenance contract.

 

(2)   Let the contract for an initial 5 years starting from Wednesday 5 October 2022, with an option to extend the contract for up to a further 5 years, based on mutual agreement.

Minutes:

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) on the Housing Maintenance Service Award of Contract.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

Cabinet agreed with the unanimous views of the Procurement Board recommendation to:

 

(1)     Award the housing maintenance contract.

 

(2)     Let the contract for an initial 5 years starting from Wednesday 5 October 2022, with an option to extend the contract for up to a further 5 years, based on mutual agreement.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

The existing Housing Maintenance Contract was due to end on 30 September 2022, with no further option to extend.

 

The current contract included responsive repairs, voids and planned works for the Council’s stock of approximately 9,500 dwellings.

 

In September 2018, Cabinet agreed to set up a Procurement Board to oversee the Procurement process for the establishment of a contract to deliver the responsive repairs, voids and planned works to the councils housing stock.

 

The Procurement Board had met seven times since it was established in 2018, to agree a number of key decisions regarding the procurement process.

21b

Campus East Car Park (Forward Plan Reference FP1050)

Exempt report of the Chief Executive on an update of the procurement of a developer to deliver the residential development at Campus East Car Park.

Decision:

Cabinet agreed the unanimous decision of the Welwyn Garden City Town Centre North Member Procurement Board was that the Contract for the Redevelopment of the Campus East Car Park is awarded to Bellway Homes Limited.

Minutes:

Exempt report of the Chief Executive on an update of the procurement of a developer to deliver the residential development at Campus East Car Park.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

Cabinet agreed the unanimous decision of the Welwyn Garden City Town Centre North Member Procurement Board was that the Contract for the Redevelopment of the Campus East Car Park is awarded to Bellway Homes Limited.

 

(2)        Reasons for the Decision

 

A key component of the regeneration of Welwyn Garden City town centre is residential development on the site of Campus East car park.  This is enabled by the consolidation of parking on Campus West.

 

The award of the contract was overseen by the Welwyn Garden City Town Centre North Member Procurement Board.  Asset out in the report, the Board unanimously recommended award of the contract to Bellway Homes,

 

The financial aspect of the bidding process concerns the scale of developer premium to be paid by the developer.  Subject to successful planning consent, and possible design changes, rgis premium could represent a capital receipt for the Council.

21c

The Commons & Ludwick Way (Forward Plan Reference FP1048)

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) on the Award of Contract for The Commons and Ludwick Way.

Decision:

Cabinet agreed that, in accordance with section 14k of the Contract Procedure Rules the contract for the redevelopment of the Commons and Ludwick Way was awarded to Boom Construction Limited. This was unanimously agreed by the Affordable Housing Procurement Board at their meeting on 21 June 2021.

Minutes:

Exempt report of the Corporate Director (Housing and Communities) on the Award of Contract for The Commons and Ludwick Way.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

Cabinet agreed that, in accordance with section 14k of the Contract Procedure Rules the contract for the redevelopment of the Commons and Ludwick Way was awarded to Boom Construction Limited. This was unanimously agreed by the Affordable Housing Procurement Board at their meeting on 21 June 2021.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

Two former garage sites at The Commons and Ludwick Way have been brought forward for the development of ten socially rented homes.  The homes will be owned and managed within the council’s Housing Revenue Account.

 

Due to their proximity and the small scale of each site, they have been packaged together for the purpose of procuring a construction partner.

 

In November 2020, Cabinet agreed to award the construction contract to FSG Property Services Limited, but early in 2021 they advised the Council that they were no longer able to proceed with the contract.

 

As a result, the three next highest bidders from this procurement have been considered and following a detailed analysis it was recommended that Boom Construction Limited were awarded the contract. 

21d

Revenues and Benefits - Risk Based Verification Policy (Forward Plan Reference FP1062)

Exempt report of the Chief Executive on the risk based verification policy for Revenues and Benefits.

Decision:

Cabinet approved the Risk Based Verification Policy.

Minutes:

Exempt report of the Chief Executive on the risk based verification policy for Revenues and Benefits.

 

(1)       The Decision Taken

 

RESOLVED:

(unanimous)

 

Cabinet approved the Risk Based Verification Policy.

 

(2)       Reasons for the Decision

 

The purpose of the report was to set out the proposed policies to be applied for the risk-based verification process discussed earlier in agenda item 7E.

 

The report detailed the different levels of verification evidence required for low, medium, or high risk claims.