Agenda, decisions and minutes

Cabinet
Thursday, 5th September, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Offices, High Street, Epping

Contact: A. Hendry (Democratic Services)  Tel: (01992) 564246 Email:  democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

26.

Webcasting Introduction

This meeting is to be webcast and Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking.

 

The Chairman will read the following announcement:

 

“I would like to remind everyone present that this meeting will be broadcast live to the Internet and will be capable of subsequent repeated viewing, with copies of the recording being made available for those that request it.

 

By being present at this meeting, it is likely that the recording cameras will capture your image and this will result in your image becoming part of the broadcast.

 

You should be aware that this may infringe your human and data protection rights. If you have any concerns then please speak to the Webcasting Officer.

 

Please could I also remind Members to activate their microphones before speaking.”

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader of Council made a short address to remind everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the internet, and would be capable of repeated viewing, which could infringe their human and data protection rights.

27.

Declarations of Interest

To declare interests in any item on this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct.

28.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 11 July 2019.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 11 July 2019 be taken as read and signed by the Leader as a correct record.

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 11 July 2019 be taken as read and signed by the Leader as a correct record.

29.

Reports of Portfolio Holders

To receive oral reports from Portfolio Holders on current issues concerning their Portfolios, which are not covered elsewhere on this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no verbal reports made by Members of the Cabinet on current issues affecting their areas of responsibility.

30.

Public Questions and Requests to Address the Cabinet

To receive any questions submitted by members of the public and any requests to address the Cabinet.

 

(a)        Public Questions

 

To answer questions asked by members of the public after notice in accordance with the provisions contained within Part 4 of the Constitution (Council Rules, Rule Q3) on any matter in relation to which the Cabinet has powers or duties or which affects the District.

 

(b)       Requests to Address the Cabinet

 

Any member of the public or a representative of another organisation may address the Cabinet on any agenda item (except those dealt with in private session as exempt or confidential business) due to be considered at the meeting, in accordance with the provisions contained within Article 7 of the Constitution (The Executive, Paragraphs 27 and 28).

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet noted that no public questions or requests to address the Cabinet had been received for consideration at the meeting.

31.

Overview and Scrutiny

To consider any matters of concern to the Cabinet arising from the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny function and to identify any matters that the Cabinet would like the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to examine as part of its work programme.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman of the Overview & Scrutiny Committee reported that the last meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, due to be held on 3 September 2019, had been cancelled due to a lack of an external organisation being available to attend that meeting. Also, none of the Select Committees had met recently so there was nothing to report back on. There was a meeting coming up of the joint chairs and vice-chairs of the scrutiny committees when they would discuss the way forward for scrutinising outside bodies.

 

32.

Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee - 18 June 2019 pdf icon PDF 126 KB

(Housing & Property Services Portfolio Holder) To consider the attached minutes from the meeting of the Council Housebuilding Cabinet Committee, held on 18 June 2019, and any recommendations therein.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

It was noted that the Cabinet Committee had not made any recommendations to the Cabinet on this occasion.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the Cabinet Committee had not made any recommendations to the Cabinet on this occasion.

 

33.

Finance and Performance Management Cabinet Committee 20 June and 18 July 2019 pdf icon PDF 70 KB

(Business Support Portfolio Holder) To consider the attached minutes from the meeting of the Finance and Performance Management Cabinet Committee, held on 20 June and 18 July 2019, and any recommendations therein.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

It was noted that the Cabinet Committee had not made any recommendations to the Cabinet on this occasion.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the Cabinet Committee had not made any recommendations to the Cabinet on this occasion.

 

34.

Asset Management & Economic Development Cabinet Committee - 27 June 2019 pdf icon PDF 82 KB

(Commercial & Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder) To consider the attached minutes from the meeting of the Asset Management & Economic Development Cabinet Committee, held on 27 June 2019, and any recommendations therein.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

It was noted that the Cabinet Committee had not made any recommendations to the Cabinet on this occasion.

 

Minutes:

It was noted that the Cabinet Committee had not made any recommendations to the Cabinet on this occasion.

 

Councillor C C Pond asked if there were any updates on the Langstone Road Shopping Park in regard to parking and congestion. He was told that officers were investigating how to support residents regarding this issue. More information would be given when available. Councillor Pond asked that the two ward members be kept informed of any progress on this issue.

 

Councillor S Neville asked about the electric charging points that were being taken up by non-electric cars and what action had been taken. Councillor Patel said that he would find out and get back to him.

35.

Budget, Medium-Term and Long-Term Financial Plan pdf icon PDF 134 KB

To consider the attached report (C-011-2019-20).

Additional documents:

Decision:

1.            The Cabinet noted the increased integration of the 2019/20 Budget Mid-Year Review, Budget 2020/21 and medium-term and long-term financial planning processes.

 

2.            The outline financial review and financial planning timetable and its timetable and its correlation with key meeting dates was noted.

 

3.            The Cabinet commented in general and took note of the key issues that would underpin the 2020/21 Budget and medium-term and long-term financial plans.

 

4.            The Cabinet noted that although early in the process of financial planning, at this point, a combination of local performance issues, local plans and cost pressures and local tax and charging uncertainties together with the general economic climate were putting pressure on the Budget and was increasing the need for savings, service changes and increase in council tax and charges.

 

5.            The Cabinet noted that they may need to have Budget and financial planning meetings and updates in November 2019 and January 2020, (in addition to the current timetable).

 

Minutes:

The Business Support Portfolio Holder introduced the report on the Council’s budget, medium-term and long-term financial plans. She noted that the Council’s final accounts would be submitted to the September meeting of the Audit and Governance Committee and then published on the website. We were expecting useful guidance from our external auditor to enable us to make any necessary improvements to our ongoing budget process.

 

It was important the financial plans of the Authority reflected the ambitions and priorities of the Authority and the legal, economic and social environment in which it operated.

 

It was important that an integrated approach was taken to this financial planning and that the previously separate activities were more fully brought together.

 

In 2020/21 we would be automating our processes to make better use of our IT systems. As in previous years we would be aiming to put our draft budget together for consideration by the end of October. For November our priority would be developments and investments. It was the intention that the completion of strategic and service reviews would occur before the final draft budget came together for early December.  Officers had planned to assemble the 2019/20 budget process for the end of December to allow a quarterly dry run.

 

Councillor C C Pond noted that one of the major hazards of the budgeting process was the pending NNDR appeal on large premises in Waltham Abbey. He had not heard anything about this in the last few months, was anyone aware of what was happening. The Business Support Holder said that she was not aware of any progress, she understood that there would be up to a two year wait for the appeals to be heard. The Chief Finance Officer added that the Council was awaiting any formal notification of change and they would report it as soon as it came through.

 

Decision:

 

1.            The Cabinet noted the increased integration of the 2019/20 Budget Mid-Year Review, Budget 2020/21 and medium-term and long-term financial planning processes.

 

2.            The outline financial review and financial planning timetable and its timetable and its correlation with key meeting dates was noted.

 

3.            The Cabinet took note of the key issues that would underpin the 2020/21 Budget and medium-term and long-term financial plans.

 

4.            The Cabinet noted that although early in the process of financial planning, at this point, a combination of local performance issues, local plans and cost pressures and local tax and charging uncertainties together with the general economic climate were putting pressure on the Budget and was increasing the need for savings, service changes and increase in council tax and charges.

 

5.            The Cabinet noted that they may need to have Budget and financial planning meetings and updates in November 2019 and January 2020, (in addition to the current timetable).

 

 

Reasons for Proposed Decisions:

 

These were just for information and noting by the Cabinet.

 

Other Options for action:

 

No other options were proposed.

36.

Any Other Business

Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, together with paragraphs 6 and 24 of the Council Procedure Rules contained in the Constitution requires that the permission of the Chairman be obtained, after prior notice to the Chief Executive, before urgent business not specified in the agenda (including a supplementary agenda of which the statutory period of notice has been given) may be transacted.

 

In accordance with Operational Standing Order 6 (non-executive bodies), any item raised by a non-member shall require the support of a member of the Committee concerned and the Chairman of that Committee.  Two weeks' notice of non-urgent items is required.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

It was noted that there was no other urgent business for consideration by the Cabinet.

37.

Exclusion of Public and Press

Exclusion

To consider whether, under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press should be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below on grounds that they will involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the following paragraph(s) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act (as amended) or are confidential under Section 100(A)(2):

 

Agenda Item No

Subject

Exempt Information Paragraph Number

14

Asset Management Strategy – Property Acquisition Strategy

3

15

Proposed letting of Land at NWA to the HMRC

3

 

The Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006, which came into effect on 1 March 2006, requires the Council to consider whether maintaining the exemption listed above outweighs the potential public interest in disclosing the information. Any member who considers that this test should be applied to any currently exempted matter on this agenda should contact the proper officer at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.

 

Background Papers

Article 17 of the Constitution (Access to Information) define background papers as being documents relating to the subject matter of the report which in the Proper Officer's opinion:

 

(a)        disclose any facts or matters on which the report or an important part of the report is based;  and

 

(b)        have been relied on to a material extent in preparing the report and does not include published works or those which disclose exempt or confidential information and in respect of executive reports, the advice of any political advisor.

 

The Council will make available for public inspection one copy of each of the documents on the list of background papers for four years after the date of the meeting. Inspection of background papers can be arranged by contacting either the Responsible Officer or the Democratic Services Officer for the particular item.

Additional documents:

Decision:

That, in accordance with Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below as they would involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12(A) of the Act indicated, and the exemption was considered to outweigh the potential public interest in disclosing the information:

 

Agenda Item

Subject

Paragraph Number

 

14

 

            Asset Management Strategy –           Property Acquisition Strategy

 

 

3

 

15

 

            Proposed Letting of Land at NWA to the HMRC

 

3

 

Minutes:

That, in accordance with Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below as they would involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12(A) of the Act indicated, and the exemption was considered to outweigh the potential public interest in disclosing the information:

 

Agenda Item

Subject

Paragraph Number

 

14

 

            Asset Management Strategy –           Property Acquisition Strategy

 

 

3

 

15

 

            Proposed Letting of Land at NWA to the HMRC

 

3

 

38.

Asset Management Strategy - Property Acquisition Strategy

To consider the attached report (C-009-2019-20).

Additional documents:

Decision:

1)    That Cabinet recommend to Council approval and endorsement of an option to call on supplementary capital of up to £30 million for the purpose of general investment opportunities meeting the criteria outlined in the Asset Management Strategy (as approved by Cabinet in June 2019).

 

2)    The Cabinet agreed to grant delegated authority in deciding to make acquisitions of suitable investment properties, to the Portfolio holder for Commercial and Regulatory Services and Portfolio Holder for Business Support in consultation with Leader of the Council.

 

Minutes:

The Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder introduced the Asset Management Strategy, property acquisition strategy report.  The Asset Management Strategy was adopted by the Cabinet in June 2019 and part of this strategy included the acquisition of investment properties and development opportunities. To implement this strategy, the Council needed the ability to make timely decisions and access to capital to complete such transactions in a competitive bidding situation. This was the context in which this property acquisition strategy was being proposed. Suitable funding and authority needed to be approved to facilitate EFDC exploring the property investment market and acquiring suitable investment properties (namely those with secure investment returns) in a timely and commercial manner, seeking to balance the wider portfolio against higher risk development opportunities.

 

Decision:

 

1)     That Cabinet recommend to Council approval and endorsement of an option to call on supplementary capital of up to £30 million for the purpose of general investment opportunities meeting the criteria outlined in the Asset Management Strategy (as approved by Cabinet in June 2019).

 

2)     The Cabinet agreed to grant delegated authority in deciding to make acquisitions of suitable investment properties, to the Portfolio holder for Commercial and Regulatory Services and Portfolio Holder for Business Support in consultation with Leader of the Council.

 

 

Reasons for Proposed Decision:

 

This would provide clear parameters in both allocated funding and decision making for EFDC to undertake suitable investment acquisitions as mandated by the AMS. This will allow EFDC to engage with acquisition agents with a clear rationale and provide potential sellers with clear timescales on acquisitions due to the delegated authority, which would be commercially advantageous to EFDC by allowing us to proceed in a commercial and timely manner.

 

Other Options for Action:

 

Alternative options were:

 

The Cabinet do not grant delegated authority and instead each investment is treated on a case by case basis as per periodic cycle of Cabinet meetings if required by Council – however this would make offers on investment properties uncompetitive as other buyers in the market would be in a position to act quickly.

 

39.

Proposed Letting of Land at NWA to Department of Housing, Communities and Local Government

To consider the attached report (C-010-2019-20).

Additional documents:

Decision:

(1)        The Cabinet agreed to the approval of a new lease of land at North Weald Airfield to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for HGV parking and associated facilities to allow the operation of the checking the documentation of companies importing and exporting high value goods.

 

(2)        Alongside the more formal agreement concerning the use of the Airfield, the Cabinet agreed to seek other benefits from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in terms of infrastructure, planning, information exchange and other legacy benefits.

 

(3)          That, pursuant to Overview and Scrutiny Rule 53 (Special Urgency) of the Constitution, the Vice-Chairman of Council (in the absence of the Chairman) be requested to waive the call-in arrangements for this decision, as any delay likely to be caused by the call-in process would seriously prejudice the Council’s interests, as it would substantially lessen the time for negotiations with HMRC and thus the preparation time needed to prepare the airfield and surrounding roads for a no-deal exit from the European Union.

 

Minutes:

The Commercial and Regulatory Services Portfolio Holder introduced the report on the proposed letting of land at North Weald Airfield to HMRC and asked the Chief Financial officer to expand on the background to this report. The Chief Financial officer noted that there was an opportunity for EFDC to lease an area of land for the operation of a HGV documentation check point as part of the preparations for a no-deal Brexit.  Central Government were making arrangements for customs purposes following on from this and HMRC had approached us to use North Weald Airfield. This use would also have implications to the surrounding highways and a report on this would follow later. This proposal had a number of benefits for EFDC including:

 

-       Income generation from the commercial lease which would be signed on the site.  It was envisaged that this would be for a 2-year term;

-       Installation of services and utilities to an area of NWA which currently were limited at present.  These would be paid for by the tenant but would ultimately remain in the ownership of EFDC;

-       Development of a largely unused part of NWA.  This unused site is well located for commercial use as it has its own direct access and entrance at the north eastern side of NWA;

-       Planning, Transport and Environmental reports.  As part of any development it was envisaged that the tenant would have to undertake detailed analysis and reports on this section of NWA and the impact which any development would create.  EFDC could have reliance upon these reports which would in turn facilitate any future development which may be undertaken once the tenant vacates.

 

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government would be required to meet the costs of unexpected compensatory events that result from their occupation or activities.

 

The Leader of the Council proposed that an an extra recommendation be inserted to ask the Chairman of Council to waive the call-in period, as any delay was likely to seriously prejudice the Council’s interests. This was agreed by the Cabinet and added to the recommendations.

 

 

Decision:

 

(1)        The Cabinet agreed to the approval of a new lease of land at North Weald Airfield to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs for HGV parking and associated facilities to allow the operation of the checking the documentation of companies importing and exporting high value goods.

 

(2)        Alongside the more formal agreement concerning the use of the Airfield, the Cabinet agreed to seek other benefits from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government in terms of infrastructure, planning, information exchange and other legacy benefits.

 

(3)          That, pursuant to Overview and Scrutiny Rule 53 (Special Urgency) of the Constitution, the Vice-Chairman of Council (in the absence of the Chairman) be requested to waive the call-in arrangements for this decision, as any delay likely to be caused by the call-in process would seriously prejudice the Council’s interests, as it would substantially lessen the time for negotiations with HMRC and thus the preparation  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.