Decision details

Pyrles Lane Nursery, Loughton - Disposal

Decision Maker: Cabinet

Decision status: Recommendations approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No


To seek guidance on the marketing of two Council owned sites, namely:


(a)           Lindsay House; &


(b)           Pyrles Lane Nursery.


The Cabinet considered a report of the Assets and Economic Development Portfolio Holder, in connection with the disposal of the Council’s existing Nursery Site at Pyrles Lane, Loughton.




(1)              That the disposal of the Pyrles Lane Nursery Site, on the basis of the external valuation report and the insertion of an overage agreement into the sales particulars to the benefit of the Council if any future developer was to achieve a planning permission for a scheme with increased density, be agreed;


(2)              That the sale of the site be subject to a requirement that the purchaser must enter into a separate Development Agreement with the Council requiring the affordable rented housing for the development to be sold to the Council (with any shared ownership homes sold to one of the Council’s Preferred Housing Association Partners) on practical completion, on the following basis:


(a)       that tenderers provide two prices as follows:


(i)        one price on the basis that all of the affordable housing will be purchased by the Council for affordable rented properties; and


(ii)       one price on the basis that, in accordance with the Council’s proposed new Housing Strategy, at least 75% of the affordable housing will be purchased by the Council for affordable rented properties and the remaining affordable housing will be purchased by one of the Council’s Preferred Housing Association Partners for shared ownership, in accordance with the shared ownership policies set out in the proposed Housing Strategy;


(b)       that tenderers for the purchase of the site be required to submit their tenders on the basis of the Council (and, in the case of any shared ownership properties, a Preferred Housing Association Partner) paying specified sums set out in the tender documents to purchase different individual property types, sizes and tenure of affordable housing, through the proposed separate Development Agreement;


(c)       That the specified purchase sums for the affordable housing be assessed on the same basis as the assumptions used by the Council for the recent purchase of the affordable housing from the private developer at Barnfield, Roydon, but with affordable rent levels based on current levels and Local Housing Allowances for Loughton; and


(d)       That, as the Council is only able to utilise its ‘one-for-one replacement’ capital receipts for the purchase of affordable rented homes and not shared ownership homes, the financial implications of this restriction be set out in the report to be made to the Cabinet on the tenders received; and


(3)              That provision be made within the Council’s Capital Programme from any future receipt of £100,000 to undertake the necessary alteration works to accommodate the Nursery and Landscape Service at the Townmead Depot at Waltham Abbey.


Reasons for Decision:


The disposal of the existing Nursery Site was consistent with the Council’s policy for the maximisation of the financial and socio-economic benefits of its assets and its programme of estate rationalisation.


Other Options Considered and Rejected:


The Cabinet considered and rejected the following options in regard to the proposed disposal of the existing Nursery Site:


(1)       Not to utilise the benefit of the outline residential permission and retain the site for operational purposes. The Council had made alternative provision for the nursery service and did not have a long-term operational need for the existing facility;


(2)       Seek to provide an alternative form of development other than residential use. The proposal would provide valuable homes on a brownfield, previously developed site, to meet the Council’s objectively assessed housing need identified within the emerging Local Plan;


(3)       Not to require the purchaser of the site to sell the completed affordable housing to the Council or a housing association. This would have no effect on the capital receipt received by the General Fund, but the Council would lose the opportunity to purchase affordable rented homes at a significantly subsidised price; and


(4)       Automatically provide all of the affordable housing as affordable rented housing, instead of seeking prices for all affordable housing and affordable rented/ shared ownership housing. This would not provide the Council with maximum flexibility to decide its preferred approach once tenders had been received.


Report author: Derek Macnab

Publication date: 13/07/2017

Date of decision: 11/07/2017

Decided at meeting: 11/07/2017 - Cabinet

Accompanying Documents: