Agenda and minutes

Asset Management and Economic Development Cabinet Committee
Monday, 14th July, 2014 7.00 pm

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

Contact: J Leither, Democratic Services Tel 01992 564756  Email: democraticservices@eppingforestdc.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Webcasting Introduction

(a)        This meeting is to be webcast;

 

(b)        Members are reminded of the need to activate their microphones before speaking; and

 

(c)        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 Chairman reminded everyone present that the meeting would be broadcast live to the internet and that the Council had adopted a protocol for the webcasting of its meetings.

2.

Declarations of Interest

(Assistant to the Chief Executive) To declare interests in any item on this agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(1)        Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor H Kane declared a personal interest in agenda item 6, Economic Development Progress Report, items 3 and 4 by virtue of being the Chairman of the Town Centre Partnership and a Ward Member and agenda item 7, Asset Management Co-ordination Group Report, item 11, Town Mead Depot by virtue of being a Ward Member. The Councillor had determined that her interest was non-pecuniary and would remain in the meeting for the consideration of the issue.

 

(2)        Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor S Stavrou declared a personal interest in agenda items 6, Economic Development Progress Report, items 3 and 4 and agenda item 7, Asset Management Co-ordination Group Report, item 11, Town Mead Depot by virtue of being a member of the Waltham Abbey Town Council. The Councillor had determined that her interest was non-pecuniary and would remain in the meeting for the consideration of the issue.

 

(3)        Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor W Breare-Hall declared a personal interest in agenda item 7, Asset Management Co-ordination Group Report, item 4, St John’s Road by virtue of being a member of Epping Town Council and a resident of Epping. The Councillor had determined that his interest was non-pecuniary and would remain in the meeting for the consideration of the issue.

 

(4)        Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor J Whitehouse declared a personal interest in agenda item 7, Asset Management Co-ordination Group Report, item 4, St John’s Road by virtue of being a member of Epping Town Council and a resident of Epping. The Councillor had determined that his interest was non-pecuniary and would remain in the meeting for the consideration of the issue.

3.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 49 KB

To confirm the minutes of the last meeting of the Cabinet Committee held on 10 April 2014.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

(1)        That the minutes of the meeting held on 10 April 2014 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

4.

North Weald Airfield Income Generation Plans pdf icon PDF 29 KB

The Manager at North Weald Airfield will be present to discuss income generation and opportunities at the Airfield.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The North Weald Airfield (NWA) Manager presented a report to the Cabinet Committee regarding plans to generate income at North Weald Airfield.

 

The Airfield Manager reported on an event that had already taken place, the use of the Airfield as a parking venue for Le Tour de France. He advised that there had been 240 cars parked at NWA on the day raising an amount of £2,400.

 

He advised the Cabinet Committee of ideas that he had been looking at in order to generate more income at the Airfield.

 

(1)        Introduction of Landing Fees

 

There are no landing fees charged for visiting aircraft that land at North Weald Airfield. The current arrangement was that each tenant on the airfield had a number of movements allocated to a runway licence, visiting aircraft tended to visit historically and North Weald Flying Services collected the landing fee in the guise of it being a donation or a day membership to the club. There have been ongoing discussions with the Squadron and the Council’s Estates department with the view that the Council should be collecting those fees. An implementation plan of how it could work had been devised and had highlighted that there would be a capital outlay of approximately £11,000 for initial setting up costs. There were ongoing arrangements being put into place with a view to the Council collecting 100% of the landing fees and this was hoped to be implemented from April 2015.

 

(2)        Promote use of Control Tower as a meeting venue

 

The Control Tower had two rooms which were suitable for small events, meetings, and a training venue the Hunter Room and the Hurricane Room. Last year a total of £6,000 rental income was generated from hiring out these rooms. Marketing material had been produced and was being advertised at outlets in the area and was also being promoted via the website and social media to attract new bookings.

 

(3)        Promote North Weald as a major events venue

 

There were not many weekends available for rental this year as there were a number of traditional events that had been running for many years, an example being Wings and Wheels which had held an annual event at the Airfield for over 25 years. Event organisers had been identified and contacted but there had not been much interest as they were predominantly interested in whole weekend events and not one day events. Whole weekend events were not possible due to the market being in operation on a Saturday. Although the market had decreased dramatically over the last 4 to 5 years and there were now only half the amount of stalls that there used to be, the market still attracted between 5,000 and 8,000 visitors each week.

 

(4)        Additional aircraft parking / hangars

 

We had identified additional areas for parking and hangars at the Airfield. The problem that had been highlighted was with the lease terms that were available, they were not found to be very favourable as we could only  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Economic Development Team Progress Report pdf icon PDF 93 KB

To consider the attached report (AMED-001-2014/15).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Economic Development Officer (EDO) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee and updated them on a number of projects, themes and issues being explored by the Economic Development Team.

 

The Officer advised that a draft Economic Development Strategy document which had been compiled to act as a high-level framework within which the work of the Economic Development section would be guided. It was intended to be a light-touch document which highlighted the broad economic development priorities adopted by the Cabinet.

 

The Officer stated that the Economic Development team were liaising with colleagues in Forward Planning and were aware of the report currently being undertaken by Hardisty Jones Consultants, looking at the Economic and Employment Evidence to Support the Epping Forest Local Plan and Economic Development Strategy.

 

The Officer pointed out that Town Centres and their needs had been identified as a key first stage project and the current status and needs of Waltham Abbey Town Centre had been further identified as a key priority and lead project. In terms of the Waltham Abbey Town Centre a number of initiatives were already underway. Colliers Surveyors were being commissioned to review and identify the physical capacity and level of demand for improved retail development in the high street, both on land owned by the council and on land in the town centre. An  economic consultant would also be commissioned to review the available unemployment data for Waltham Abbey and advise on the present status, patterns emerging, and need for intervention, with regard to unemployment in the town.

 

The Economic Development Team were supporting the Waltham Abbey Town Centre Partnership (TCP) with the Waltham Abbey High Street Summit on the 15 July 2014, which would seek to gather the views and thoughts of the town’s businesses and residents on what the High Street needed to both survive and thrive. The TCP were organising this event with a number of officers from both Epping Forest District Council and Essex County Council who were intending to give very short talks or presentations to generate debate and discussion around the future of the High Street.

 

Once the Waltham Abbey Town Centre Economic Development Plan had been formalised in terms of layout and content, each town centre in the District would receive the same level of attention following the established format but making each one bespoke to the particular location where appropriate.

 

The Officer advised that from June 2014 it had been possible to give regular attention to the facebook pages of One Shops Local and Visit Epping Forest. This had resulted in a noticeable increase in the level of traffic to the pages and also the level to which the Council was able to engage with online communities.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)        That the progress and work programme of the Council’s Economic Development Section be noted.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

To update the Cabinet Committee on the progress made with regard to Economic Development issues.

 

Other Options Considered and Rejected:

 

None, as this was a monitoring report for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Asset Management Co-Ordination Group Report pdf icon PDF 85 KB

To consider the attached report (AMED- 002-2014/15).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Committee noted a report from the Asset Management Co-ordination Group on the progress made with the development of the Council’s property assets.

 

The Assistant Director (Asset Management & Economic Development) reported orally on further progress which had been achieved since the matters had been considered by the Group.

 

(1)        Langston Road Retail Park

 

Detailed advice had been received from accountants, Price Waterhouse Coopers, which was being co-ordinated with solicitors Berwin Leighton Paisner, who had both been appointed to this project to ensure that the Council had the most tax efficient and proper legal entity to jointly take this proposal forward with Polofind Limited, who were the Council’s joint development partners. Other work had progressed and the Council was close to being able to recommend the appointment of a construction project manager who would be a key member of the team appointing other professionals.

 

Planning matters which were reserved by the outline planning approval were also being dealt with such as the highways notices being prepared and further reports of the contamination had been commissioned. Our partners were moving forward on marketing and a draft brochure had been prepared for approval.

 

(2)       Oakwood Hill Depot

 

The planning application for the new Council Depot at Oakwood Hill had been referred to the District Development Control Committee on 13 August 2014.

 

(3)        Pyrles Lane Nursery

 

This site would be available for development once the Oakwood Hill Depot was constructed. A new planning application for a residential development was being prepared and would be submitted in the near future.

 

(4)        St John’s Road

 

Frontier Estates Limited had submitted detailed heads of terms for approval by all three councils, namely Essex County Council, Epping Forest District Council and Epping Town Council. Epping Town Council had approved the heads of terms and there was a report being considered by the District Council’s Cabinet meeting on the 21 July 2014.

 

The development which had been proposed was a small food store which would be anchoring the scheme, a small multiplex cinema, a town square, restaurants, residential accommodation, offices which would include the Town Council and a public car park.

 

Assuming the heads of terms were agreed then the next step would be to instruct solicitors to have a joint development agreement between the developer and all three Councils. The developer would sign the agreement subject to planning approval.

 

(5)        Waste Contractor’s Depot

 

The Council had appointed Biffa as the new waste contractor which would commence in November 2014. Biffa would operate from their own depot sites but they would still be able to use the Council’s current depot at Langston Road until 31 March 2015.

 

(6)        North Weald Airfield

 

There was a separate report regarding aviation at the airfield on the agenda.

 

(7)        Torrington Drive

 

The head lease of the Sainsbury store had been purchased from Stobarts and the store had a major uplift with the retail units at the front being turned into a car park with 49 spaces.

 

(8)        Winston Churchill Public House  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

Main Runway at North Weald Airfield pdf icon PDF 107 KB

To consider the attached report (AMED-003-2014/15).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Neighbourhoods presented a report to the Cabinet Committee regarding the main runway at North Weald Airfield. He advised that the report provided up to date details in respect of the condition of the main runway (RW02/20) at North Weald Airfield and set out potential remedial options. The report also considered, in the confidential part of the report, Counsel’s opinion on obligations of the Council in respect of the leases/licences held by aviation tenants.

 

The Director stated that a number of reports had been commissioned since 1988 on the condition of the main runway. These included Scott Wilson in 1998, Halcrow in 2011 and Deloittes in 2013. The Halcrow report advised that the condition of the runway was suitable for its current use. Scott Wilson tested the runway and identified the pavement strength to have a classification number PCN 6. Tenants were informed of the runway classification number and advised that they would be able to occasionally operate aircraft in excess of a PCN 9 but the Council must be informed beforehand so they could inspect the runway and approve the operation.

 

The Director advised that RPS, an aviation based consultancy were commissioned to advise the Council on the steps required and probable costs related to bringing the main runway up to a standard of PCN 9.

 

The main findings of the report from RPS were as follows:

 

(a)          that the runway 02/20 is currently, in parts, under strength (PCN 6), whereas the licences stipulate PCN 9;

(b)          that the original asphalt section of the runway surface was in a comparatively poor state; however maintenance has maintained a satisfactory runway;

(c)          that based upon the level of traffic at the Airfield and the type of general aviation aircraft that operated from there, the runway surface was considered fit for purpose;

(d)          that the current runway operating distances were larger than required for the “design aircraft” (a Hawker Hunter T7), and its overall length could be reduced; and

(e)          that to achieve a PCN of 9 the asphalt section of the runway required a minimum of a 250mm overlay.

 

RPS had not undertaken any intrusive testing of the runway, their report was based on the previous Scott Wilson and Halcrow reports and a thorough visual inspection. The report divided the runway into three sections, with distances referenced to runway 02 (i.e. running south to north):

 

(i)         the flexible (asphalt) section (0m to 840m);

(ii)        the composite section (841m to 1090m); and

(iii)       the rigid (concrete) section (1091m to 1920m)

 

The Scott Wilson report designated these section lengths as having PCNs of 6, 10 and 9 respectively. RPS had formed the view that overall a PCN of 6 was appropriate.

 

RPS had provided a number of estimated solutions, again dependent upon what the future use of the Airfield might be, for example, any intention to seek a CAA licence. 

 

A summary of the options are as follows:

 

Remediation

Baseline

Overlay, existing runway profile

Option 1

Overlay, 1% transverse  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Exclusion of Public and Press

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 paragraph(s) of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Act indicated:

 

 

Agenda Item No

Subject

Exempt Information Paragraph Number

12

 

 

13

Main Runway at North Weald Airfield

 

Marketing of an Operational Management Agreement at North Weald Airfield – Appendix

3 and 5

 

 

3

 

To resolve that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following items which are confidential under Section 100(A)(2) of the Local Government Act 1972:

 

Agenda Item No

Subject

Nil

Nil

 

Paragraph 9 of the Council Procedure Rules contained in the Constitution require:

 

(1)       All business of the Council requiring to be transacted in the presence of the press and public to be completed by 10.00 p.m. at the latest.

 

(2)       At the time appointed under (1) above, the Chairman shall permit the completion of debate on any item still under consideration, and at his or her discretion, any other remaining business whereupon the Council shall proceed to exclude the public and press.

 

(3)       Any public business remaining to be dealt with shall be deferred until after the completion of the private part of the meeting, including items submitted for report rather than decision.

 

Background Papers:  Paragraph 8 of the Access to Information Procedure Rules of the Constitution 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 does not include published works or those which disclose exempt or confidential information (as defined in Rule 10) and in respect of executive reports, the advice of any political advisor.

 

Inspection of background papers may be arranged by contacting the officer responsible for the item.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

(1)        That the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below on the grounds that they would involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972:

 

Agenda                                                                       Exempt Information

Item No.          Subject                                               Paragraph Number

 

12                    Main Runway at North             3 and 5

            Weald Airfield

9.

Main Runway at North Weald Airfield (continued)

To consider the attached restricted report (AMED-003A-2014/15).

Minutes:

The Director of Neighbourhoods presented Part II of his report to the Cabinet Committee regarding Counsel’s advice on the main runway at North Weald Airfield. The report considered Counsel’s opinion on the obligations of the Council in respect of the leases and licences held by aviation tenants.

 

The Chairman advised that the meeting would now go back into public session to consider the recommendations.

10.

Inclusion of Public and Press

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

(1)          That the public and press be invited back into the meeting.

11.

MAIN RUNWAY AT NORTH WEALD AIRFIELD (CONTINUED)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

(1)       That the findings of the RPS report on the current condition of the runway at North Weald Airfield be noted;

 

(2)        That the confidential advice from Counsel with respect to the Council’s obligations under the Leases and Licenses with aviation tenants be noted;

 

(3)       That the current maintenance and inspection regimes be maintained, as they were considered suitable for maintaining safe operating conditions at the current time; and

 

(4)       That any significant remedial work or consideration of the reduction in runway length be deferred until such time as the Local Plan process had been concluded.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

To give consideration to remediation options in the context of the current condition of the runway as assessed by the RPS report, the implications of the local plan process and the Councils lease/licence obligations

 

Other Options Considered and Rejected:

 

To not address the issues presented by the runway condition report and legal advice.  However, this would expose the Council to risk.

12.

Marketing of an Operational Management Agreement at North Weald Airfield pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To consider the attached report (AMED-004-2014/15).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Asset Management and Economic Development) presented a report to the Cabinet Committee concerning the marketing of an operational management agreement for North Weald Airfield. The Cabinet Committee were advised that property consultants, Savills, had been appointed to review the current position and undertake a soft market exercise to obtain the views of companies who operated in this sector of the aviation industry. Due to the considerable amount of unknown factors it was identified that a management agreement would be preferable to a long lease agreement.

 

The Assistant Director stated that a formal marketing of this opportunity was now needed to ensure that the aviation business worked to become profitable in its own right. He also advised that an outright sale of North Weald Airfield would be ruled out.

 

The Leisure and Community Services Portfolio Holder proposed that an additional recommendation be added to the report to note that there were no plans to sell the airfield at the current time. The Financial Portfolio Holder seconded the recommendation.

 

The Chairman advised that the meeting would now go into private session to discuss the confidential part of this report.

13.

Exclusion of Public and Press

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

(1)        That the public and press be excluded from the meeting for the items of business set out below on the grounds that they would involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972:

 

Agenda                                                                       Exempt Information

Item No.          Subject                                               Paragraph Number

 

13                    Marketing of an Operational                3

            Management Agreement at

            North Weald Airfield - Appendix

14.

Marketing of an Operational Management Agreement at North Weald Airfield (continued)

To consider the restricted Appendix to the report (AMED-004-2014/15).

Minutes:

The Assistant Director (Asset Management and Economic Development) introduced the Savills report on Soft Market Testing for North Weald Airport (NWA). He advised that there were two principal concerns from a business aviation perspective:

 

(1)        The number of other airports and airfields within a 75 mile radius; and

 

(2)        The capital investment that would be needed to allow business aviation to become established at North Weald.

 

The report went on to identify that NWA was in a prime location and should be of interest to business aviation operators and private customers.

15.

Inclusion of Public and Press

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

(1)          That the public and press be invited back into the meeting.

16.

Marketing of an operational management agreement at North Weald Airfield (continued)

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Recommended:

 

(1)        That an Operational partner for the aviation business at North Weald Airfield be sought;

 

(2)        That the procurement and appointment of marketing agents be approved, with the terms of the of the appointment of the agents delegated to the Portfolio Holder for Asset Management and Economic Development;

 

(3)        That a further report on the outcome of the marketing exercise be submitted to a future meeting of the Cabinet Committee; and

 

(4)          That there were no plans at the current time to sell North Weald Airfield be noted.

 

Reason for the Decision:

 

To progress Cabinet’s previous decision to try and secure a viable future for aviation it is suggested that an existing commercial airfield operator be sought to provide the expertise to increase income, improve efficiency and help guide future plans.

 

Other Options Considered and Rejected:

 

The only option is to try and improve the airfield operations in-house without potential private sector expertise and operational risk transfer.

 

To sell or lease a longer term interest in the Airfield for aviation use, which would mean less control and choice of options for the future for the Council.

 

17.

ANY OTHER BUSINESS

Section 100B(4)(b) of the Local Government Act 1972, together with paragraphs 6 and 25 of the Council Procedure Rules contained in the Constitution require 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:

The Cabinet Committee noted that there was no other urgent business for consideration.