Agenda and minutes

Asset Management and Economic Development Cabinet Committee
Thursday, 15th October, 2015 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Offices. View directions

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

Media

Items
No. Item

9.

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.

10.

SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

(Director of Governance) To report the appointment of any substitute members for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Committee noted that Councillor D Stallan substituted for Councillor W Breare-Hall.

11.

Declarations of Interest

(Director of Governance) To declare interests in any items on the agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

(a)        Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor C Whitbread declared a personal interest in agenda item 9, St John’s Road Development by virtue of being 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.

 

(b)        Pursuant to the Council’s Code of Member Conduct, Councillor J M Whitehouse declared a personal interest in agenda item 9, St John’s Road Development by virtue of being a member of Epping Town Council and a resident of St John’s Road, Epping. The Councillor had determined that his interest was non-pecuniary but would leave the meeting if the discussion became too detailed.

12.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 89 KB

To confirm the minutes of the last meeting of the Cabinet Committee held on 9 July 2015.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

That the minutes of the meeting held on 9 July 2015 be taken as read and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.

13.

Economic Development Team Progress Report pdf icon PDF 137 KB

(Director of Neighbourhoods) To consider the attached report AMED-003-2015/16.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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

 

(1)        Business Support / Growth Hub – SELEP funded the business support website and face to face business support enterprise that had been put together based on the Southend Growth Hub model that previously existed. Although the website was now active, the official launch will be on the 21 October 2015. A contractor had been appointed, Colbea and they will undertake the face to face element of the business support enterprise.

 

(2)        Town Centres  Officers of the Economic Development Team had recently been to a meeting of the District and Town Centres teams. These were quarterly updates with the partnerships on their ongoing projects under the Town and Village Centres Opportunities Fund. A guest speaker from the Braintree Town Team was invited to talk about the experiences of the Braintree Town Team and had given our town partnerships some inspiration and ideas to take forward new initiatives into their towns and enable them to bid for the new Town and Village Centres Opportunities Fund.

 

We have also met with representatives from Buckhurst Hill and Loughton High Road town partnerships to establish what issues they were facing and to give some input and advice regarding what would work in their towns. We have been actively engaging with representatives from Waltham Abbey Town Partnership on a bid to the Essex County Council Community Initiatives Fund in respect of developing a wayfinding project in the town which was originally an expressions of interest but they have now invited us to make a full application. This had now been submitted and we should hear in November 2015 the outcome of that bid.

 

(3)        Superfast Broadband – There had been some minor delays in making sure that the rollout went to the most effective parts of the rural challenge area that need it. This evening the very first community event is taking place in Moreton Village Hall which would be the start of the community engagement for the delivery of the project in Moreton, Bobbingworth and the Bovinger area and should go live in the new year. The next community event was scheduled for November 2015 in Fyfield.

 

(4)        Business Briefing – The Economic Development team were pleased with how the new Business Briefing had developed. There had been a total redesign to give the Business Briefing a new look and feel. The latest edition, published last week, had been emailed out in pdf format to just under 700 contacts and was building. The Business Briefing had been very positively received by the public and there were also around 800 downloads from the website and new business enquiries were being received by the Economic Development team.

 

(5)        Partner Liaison – The Partner Liaison project had been a key to the Economic Development team reaching out and contacting more Partners. One of the Partners that we  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.

14.

Asset Management Co-Ordination Group Report pdf icon PDF 134 KB

(Director of Neighbourhoods) To consider the attached report AMED-004-2015/16.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Neighbourhoods presented a report to the Cabinet Committee and updated them on further progress which had been achieved since the publication of the Agenda. 

 

(1)        Epping Forest Shopping Park – The Cabinet received regular monitoring reports on the progress of the development of the Epping Forest Shopping Park.  The latest report was considered by the Cabinet on the 8 October 2015. The most significant development with respect to the project was with regard to the tenders for the Highways Section 278 Works and the main construction project for the retail units. A separate report was contained within this agenda regarding a request by Cabinet for the Asset Management Committee to undertake more detailed project monitoring with a proposal as to how this could be practically achieved.

 

(2)        Oakwood Hill Depot – A contractor had now been appointed and ground works had started on the construction of the Council’s new Depot at Oakwood Hill to accommodate Grounds maintenance and Fleet Operations. It was anticipated that the steel frame for the building would start to be erected in the next 4-6 weeks with the expected completion in April 2016.

 

(3)        Ongar Academy – The new secondary school opened for the first intake of Year Seven Pupils in September. Temporary classroom accommodation had been provided on redundant tennis courts to the rear of the Leisure Centre under Licence from the Council. Pre-application discussions had commenced on the new permanent school.  Heads of Terms had been agreed for the sale of the playing fields to accommodate the new school, subject to planning consent being agreed.

 

(4)        Winston Churchill Public House – The Cabinet were notified that Higgins Homes were the development partner for the site of the former public house. Work for the flats and the retail area had now begun.

 

(5)        Pyrles Lane Nursery – A revised application had been submitted for planning approval on the site, which sought to address the previous grounds for refusal.  Following the necessary period of consultation, it was predicted that the matter would be considered by the District Development Management Committee in December 2015.

 

(6)        Town Mead Depot – Further to advice received from the Environment Agency and the Council’s Development Service it was confirmed that the site was highly unlikely to progress for residential development due to flood risk. Alternative uses may therefore need to be considered.

 

(7)        North Weald Airfield – Essex County Council (ECC) undertook to do a report, based on their experience across the county, regarding a Park & Ride Scheme for the Airfield. To date we have not received any formal written report but ECC have verbally expressed that in their opinion a Park & Ride Scheme at North Weald Airfield would not be economic or viable. The Director of Neighbourhoods advised that he had a meeting with Essex County Council this week and that he would ask for a written report and a timescale when we could expect to receive this report. He advised, however, that a formal report may  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Epping Forest Shopping Park - Monitoring Arrangements pdf icon PDF 140 KB

(Director of Neighbourhoods) To consider the attached report AMED-005-2015/16.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Neighbourhoods presented a report to the Cabinet Committee regarding the future monitoring arrangements for the development of the Epping Forest Shopping Park (EFSP).

 

The Cabinet have received regular high level progress reports on the EFSP project. The Council had acquired the sole interest in the EFSP and the Council would now carry all the risks associated with the development of the EFSP. As it was a major capital project and the Council would be utilising public money, therefore robust monitoring arrangements must be put in place.

 

For some time now there had been a Consultant project team steering this project and the Council have appointed White, Young and Green to undertake a project management role and to work together with the Consultants and Officers of the Council to produce regular progress reports. Cabinet have asked if the Asset Management and Economic Development Cabinet Committee would take on the monitoring role of this project on the Council’s behalf.

 

The way this would be achieved:

 

(1)  The Asset Management and Economic Development Cabinet Committee meet five times a year and would report back to Cabinet through their regular monitoring reports.

 

(2)  White Young & Green be asked to prepare a bespoke report for this Cabinet Committee, advising of the risk management and the programme costs for this project and be invited to a Cabinet Committee meeting to present the report.

 

(3)  The letting agents, Colliers would prepare a report on the interested tenants and answer any questions regarding the letting and management of the project. Colliers would be invited to attend a Cabinet Committee to present this report.

 

The Director of Neighbourhoods asked the Chairman and Members of the Cabinet Committee if they thought this was the correct way to approach the monitoring of this project and were they agreeable to this proposal.

 

The Chairman put it to the Members of the Cabinet Committee and they unanimously agreed that this was the correct venue for this project to be monitored.

 

Resolved:

 

Subject to the outcome of the decision of Cabinet on the 8 October, proposing that the Asset Management Cabinet Committee undertake more detailed monitoring of the development of the Epping Forest Shopping Park Project and consideration by the Cabinet Committee of how this could be practically achieved. Members agreed that the Asset Management and Economic Development Cabinet Committee would take on the monitoring role of the Epping Forest Shopping Park on the Council’s behalf.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

The Council having acquired the interest of their development partner Polofind Ltd, was now the owner, developer and future operator of the Epping Forest Shopping Park. The project represents a major capital investment with an associated element of risk. Cabinet are considering on the 8 October 2015, whether the Asset Management Cabinet Committee have a role to play in ensuring the project was monitored effectively.

 

Other Options Consider and Rejected:

 

To advise Cabinet that the Assert Management Cabinet Committee do not consider it appropriate to undertake the monitoring of the project.

16.

St. John's Road Development - Update pdf icon PDF 145 KB

(Director of Neighbourhoods) To consider the attached report AMED-006-2015/16.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Neighbourhoods presented a report to the Cabinet Committee updating them on the progress to date on the St John’s Road development. He advised that concerns had been raised by Members and local residents, regarding the lack of progress on this scheme.

 

The Director advised that the St John’s Road site was in a key town centre location within Epping. The site was owned by Essex County Council, the majority landowner, Epping Town Council and Epping Forest District Council owning adjacent land. With the relocation of the junior school and closure of the Adult Education and Youth Centres on the site, it was recognised that any redevelopment of the area would need to be given careful consideration.

 

In conjunction with the County Council and the Town Council, the District Council commissioned a Design and Development Brief for the area, to provide planning guidance. The Design and Development Brief was intended to provide a vision for the future of the area and once agreed by the Councils’ Cabinet and Full Council, would represent non statutory planning guidance. The Development Brief had now been formally agreed by the District Council and had become a material consideration for any future planning application for the sites and forms part of the evidence base for the new Local Plan.

 

A joint marketing campaign was undertaken and a number of Expressions of Interest and bids were received which resulted in the appointment of Frontier Estates whose proposal was deemed to not be financially advantageous but to meet the designs and aspirations of the development brief. Their proposal contained a food store, a 3 screen cinema, shops and restaurants as well as some residential units.

 

At the time of discussions regarding the contract for sale of Essex County Council’s land at St John’s Road, a need for provision to meet the accommodation needs of vulnerable adults was identified in the locality. The Council was the freehold owner of Lindsay House in Lindsey Street, Epping, which had previously been leased to the Abbeyfields Society for housing the elderly. As demand for this type of bedsit accommodation reduced, the Charity did not wish to extend its occupancy.  Therefore, after negotiations with the Diocese around the extension of the covenants, Essex County Council expressed a desire to purchase the building and convert it for use for supported living for vulnerable adults. The purchase of Lindsay House, therefore, became part of the negotiations with the District Council acquiring the County Council land at St John’s Road. A sale price had now been agreed between the County and District Council. However, as Essex County Council were selling the land to another public body, i.e. EFDC, they have sought the Secretary of State’s approval, by means of a State Aid application. A concern that prompted the application was that the County Council had received a higher unsolicited offer from a residential care home provider. Whilst of higher value, a large care home would not be in accordance with the Design and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Results of Marketing Exercise for an Operating Partner for North Weald Airfield pdf icon PDF 140 KB

(Director of Neighbourhoods) To consider the attached report AMED-007-2015/16.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Director of Neighbourhoods presented a report to the Cabinet Committee regarding the results of a Marketing Exercise for an Operating Partner at North Weald Airfield. The Director introduced Mr O Fursdon, a director from Savills, who were the Council’s Agents. Savills had been commissioned by the Council to undertake an Expressions of Interest soft marketing operation at North Weald Airfield. Mr Fursdon would be presenting the Expressions of Interest received when the meeting went into private session.

 

The Director advised that the Council had over time, commissioned a number of studies in relation to the future of North Weald Airfield.  As a result of the most recent review, undertaken by Deloitte’s in July 2013, Cabinet resolved that the preferred option was that the Council pursued a mixed aviation/development option, subject to the outcome of the Local Plan. As part of this consideration of the future of the Airfield, Members also requested that pro-active steps be taken to maximise aviation activity on the site. The Cabinet agreed to seek an operational partner to promote aviation and the associated uses and officers were asked to appoint marketing agents.

 

Since the Council acquired North Weald Airfield from the Ministry of Defence, a number of general aviation, commercial and leisure uses have been developed on the site. However, these have largely been as a result of incremental organic growth and not as a result of any clear strategic policy direction. As an asset of considerable value and potential, the Council had commissioned a number of reports, in order to assist in determining the best future for the site. The most recent piece of significant strategic review work was undertaken by Delloitte. The Cabinet considered the conclusions of the Deloitte Study in July 2013 and concluded that aviation should be retained and that the residual of the site should be promoted for mixed use development, as part of the Council’s Local Plan. To inform the Local Plan a Masterplanning Exercise was undertaken for North Weald Bassett, which now forms part of the evidence base.

 

Having determined that aviation should be retained in the longer term, Members asked that pro-active steps be taken to maximise the aviation use of the site. This was not only to make best use of the asset but recognised that aviation activity currently required a degree of subsidy. Therefore increased revenue was required to offset the Council’s costs in maintaining the considerable amount of infrastructure and staffing resource, required to operate flying safely.

 

In order to take this objective forward, Property Consultants Savills were appointed to undertake a soft marketing exercise, to obtain the views of companies operating in the aviation industry. This exercise indicated that there was a level of interest in North Weald Airfield and concluded that some form of operational management agreement would be the most attractive offer. This was reported to the Cabinet in July 2014, who agreed that as a result of this finding, a more formal marketing offer should be developed.

 

The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

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.

19.

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

 

13

 

Presentation on Expressions of Interest for North Weal Airfield

 

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.

 

Confidential Items Commencement

 

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 and 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:

 

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                Presentation on                                               3

                        Expressions of Interest for

                        North Weald Airfield

20.

Presentation on Expressions of Interest for North Weald Airfield Operating Partner

(Director of Neighbourhoods) To introduce a presentation on Expressions of Interest for an Operating Partner for North Weald Airfield.

Minutes:

The Director of Neighbourhoods advised Members that this meeting would now go into private session and advised that Mr Fursdon would now give his presentation of the Expressions of Interest received.

 

Mr Fursdon advised that there had been three expressions of interest received, from companies covering a broad range of interests within the world of aviation. He advised that the written proposals had been evaluated and informal interviews held with each party to gain further understanding of their skills and experience, financial standing and their vision for the Airfield.

 

The Director of Neighbourhoods stated that it was apparent that each company would bring different perspectives and propose different types of future management arrangements and investment options. It would be the decision of the Asset Management and Economic Development Cabinet Committee to recommend to the Cabinet what type of approach they feel would best meet the Council’s objectives, with respect to aviation intensification and the reduction of subsidy for flying activities.

 

At this time, the Cabinet Committee would not be recommending a preferred partner from the three proposals received.  This was because the marketing exercise was only “soft market-tested” and therefore not conducted in accordance with the more formal procurement regulations that would apply if the Council (as a public body) were seeking to enter into any longer-term contractual arrangement. However, what the marketing exercise had established was the level of interest in the opportunity, the types of operator and the terms that they would be seeking.

 

Resolved:

 

That in assessing the Expressions of Interest received as a result of the marketing exercise for an operational partner. Members be cognisant of a number of key considerations which may influence procurement options.

 

Recommended:

 

(1)        That a long lease be granted;

(2)        That the non-aviation area be excluded;

(3)        That the Council may wish to invest in this project; and

(3)        That the new Partner would manage all existing tenants.

 

Reasons for Decision:

 

To assist Members in identifying key considerations from the presentation of Expressions of Interest.

 

Other Options Consider and Rejected:

 

To not proceed with the appointment of an operational partner and maintain the current management arrangements.