Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King's Lynn

Contact: Rebecca Parker, Democratic Services, 01553 616632 

Link: View Live Stream

Items
No. Item

RD52:

Apologies for absence

To receive any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Colwell and Dickinson.

RD53:

Members Present Pursuant to Standing Order 34

Members wishing to speak pursuant to Standing Order 34 should inform the Chair of their intention to do so and what items they wish to be heard before a decision on that item is taken.  

 

Minutes:

Councillor Parish.

RD54:

Declarations of Interest pdf icon PDF 128 KB

Please indicate if there are any interests which should be declared.  A declaration of interest should indicate the nature of the interest (if not already declared on the Register of Interests) and the agenda item to which it relates.  If a disclosable pecuniary interest is declared, the Member should withdraw from the room whilst the matter is discussed.

 

Those declarations apply to all Members present, whether the Member is part of the meeting, attending to speak as a local Member on an item or simply observing the meeting from the public seating area.

Minutes:

Councillor Kemp declared an interest in RD62: Update on the Carnegie Library as she was involved in a campaign to save the library.

 

Councillors Bhondi and Ware declared an interest in items RD56: Proposed business plans for West Norfolk Property and West Norfolk Housing Company and RD60: Finance Model Proposals for the Loan Facility for Council Companies as they were both on the Board of Directors for West Norfolk Property and West Norfolk Housing Company.

 

Councillor Long declared an interest in items RD56: Proposed business plans for West Norfolk Property and West Norfolk Housing Company and RD60: Finance Model Proposals for the Loan Facility for Council Companies as he had previously been appointed to the Board of Directors for West Norfolk Property and West Norfolk Housing Company.

RD55:

Exclusion of Press and Public

To consider passing the following resolution:

 

“That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act”.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

RD56:

EXEMPT - Cabinet Report - Proposed Business Plans for West Norfolk Property and West Norfolk Housing Company

Members of the Corporate Performance Panel and Environment & Community Panel are invited to attend the meeting for this item of Business.

Minutes:

Those present were reminded that Members of the Environment and Community Panel and Corporate Performance Panel had been invited to the meeting for this item.

 

The Senior Housing Development Officer presented the report which presented the proposed Business Plans for West Norfolk Property and West Norfolk Housing Company.  It was explained that the Shareholder Agreements for the company required the Board of Directors to provide a draft updated business plan annually for the Shareholder Committee to comment on and endorse.  The Business plans could not be adopted or varied unless the Shareholder has given consent.

 

The Business plans were currently in draft format and more detail on the financial modelling would follow.  The Panels would have a further opportunity to consider the business plans before they were finalised.  The Senior Housing Development Officer outlined the national and local issues affecting the private rented sector and the important role that the Companies played in delivering Social rented housing and quality private sector rented housing.

 

The Assistant Director acknowledged that the Business Plans were still incomplete and further detail was required on costs, income and investments.  This would be updated after the loan facility proposals had been considered by the Council.  He commented that the Boards were both relevant and met the Council’s objective to fulfil the housing role, including the need for affordable housing options and to bring forward more housing.  He also made reference to the heavy reliance on bed and breakfast temporary accommodation which was unsuitable.

 

The Panel was invited to comment and consider the draft business plans.

 

Councillor Dark asked if now was the right time to make the decision as the Business Plans were still in draft and Council had not yet considered the loan facility proposals for the Council.  The Assistant Director acknowledged that there was a timing issue, but the Business plans set out the strategic ambition, with figures to follow.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Collingham, the Assistant Director explained the role of the two companies and their relationship to other Social Housing Providers.  He explained that West Norfolk Housing Company was set up to increase the capacity of social housing in the Borough and deliver affordable housing.  It was a Registered Provider of Social Housing and had acquired affordable homes and leased flats at Broad Street that were used for temporary accommodation.  Properties acquired were managed and maintained through a management company. 

 

West Norfolk Property had been set up to acquire properties from the Council to rent out privately and create a revenue stream.

 

The Senior Housing Development Officer explained that a fact sheet was being created to clarify the role of each Company and Councillor Collingham commented that a Councillor Briefing on the role of the Companies would be useful.

 

Councillor Kemp commented that there was a need for more housing and that acquisition was better than spend on bed and breakfast, especially if some people were being sent  ...  view the full minutes text for item RD56:

RETURN TO OPEN SESSION

RD57:

Minutes pdf icon PDF 268 KB

To approve the minutes of the previous meeting.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: The minutes from the previous meeting were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

RD58:

Urgent Business

To consider any business which, by reason of special circumstances, the Chair proposes to accept as urgent under Section 100(b)(4)(b) of the Local Government Act, 1972.

Minutes:

There was none.

RD59:

Chair's Correspondence

If any.

Minutes:

There was none.

RD60:

Cabinet Report - Finance Models Proposal for the Loan Facility for Council Companies pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Members of the Corporate Performance Panel and Environment & Community Panel are invited to attend the meeting for this item of Business.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Click here to view the recording of this item on You Tube.

 

Members of the Environment and Community Panel and Corporate Performance Panel had been invited to attend the meeting for this item.

 

The Assistant Director presented the report which set out options for dealing with the properties leased from the Council to the companies and set out proposed funding criteria to support transfer of the properties into the companies freehold and to meet governance requirements.

 

Members were advised that the report was still draft and subject to external feedback/advice from consultants.  The Assistant Director confirmed that this feedback would be available before the report was considered by Cabinet on 5th December 2023.

 

The key issues were set out in the report including the capacity of the council to lend money which was limited by legislation and the social value return.  Consideration also had to be given to West Norfolk Property and the requirement to charge comparable interest rates.  It was noted that West Norfolk Housing Company and West Norfolk Property were fairly new Companies, with limited trading history, which limited the opportunities for loans.

 

The Chair thanked the Assistant Director for the report and invited questions and comments from the Panels, as summarised below.

 

Councillor Dark acknowledged the time constraints to fit in with the budget setting process and that external advice was still awaited, but he felt it was difficult for Members to make recommendations to Cabinet on proposals that had not yet been finalised and proposed that no recommendation be put forward by the Panel at this time.  He recognised that the report was being considered by Cabinet on 5th December and asked the Leader if he would permit Members to attend Cabinet under Standing Order 34 and ask questions at Cabinet, rather than be limited to making statements, as per the rules set out in the Constitution.

 

The Leader confirmed that he would permit this at the Cabinet meeting and requested that Members provide a steer as to if they agree with the proposals in principle, and then the figures would follow.

 

Councillor Dark’s proposal that Cabinet are requested to permit Members to ask questions under Standing Order 34 at the Cabinet Meeting on 5th December, and that no recommendation was put forward by the Panel at this time was seconded by Councillor Long and agreed by the Panel.

 

Councillor Jones was concerned that the proposals had been presented to the Panel incomplete.  The Assistant Director explained that external advice had been sought and research had been conducted to ascertain if banks would provide a loan, but because of the limited trading history and portfolio, they would not.  Further external advice was now awaited on the loan facilities available and future funding opportunities.

 

Councillor Kemp supported the building of more houses to meet the needs of people in the Borough and asked who would safeguard, provide security of assets and monitor.  The Assistant Director explained that the Council’s Cabinet and Shareholder Committee  ...  view the full minutes text for item RD60:

RD61:

Cabinet Report - CIL Governance and Spending Document 2024 and Annual Infrastructure Funding List pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Click here to view the recording of this item on You Tube.

 

The Planning Control Manager presented the report which set out the proposed scheme for allocating funds collected through CIL and presented the final version of the proposed priorities.

 

The Chair thanked officers for their report and invited questions and comments from the Panel, as summarised below.

 

Councillor Crofts asked what assurances were in place to ensure that allocated CIL funds were spent correctly, and the Planning Control Manager explained that annual reports had to be provided and recipients also had to sign a contract and terms of reference.  They also had to adhere to timescales and progress was monitored by the CIL Team.  Monitoring methods were included in the Governance Document.

 

The Chair commented that the CIL Spending Panel thoroughly considered applications at their meetings.

 

Councillor Blunt commented that the CIL Spending Panel was still learning and adapting its criteria and processes as they gained more experience.  He assured Members that the CIL Spending Panel ensured they best use of CIL funds and he supported the recommendations.

 

Councillor Kemp commented that there were barriers to accessing CIL funding in unparished areas where there were no constituted groups set up.  The Planning Control Manager commented that the CIL Officers provided an excellent service and would support and advise potential applicants.  There was also a plethora of information on the application process and criteria on the Borough Council’s website.

 

Councillor Collingham commented that she had received great support from the CIL Team when preparing an application.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Biodiversity and Climate Change, Councillor de Whalley, thanked officers for their work and welcomed proposals to simplify and clarify processes.  He provided comment on further improvements which could be considered in the future.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Tourism, Marketing and Events, Councillor Ring, welcomed ideas to improve processes and commented that, in the future, consideration should be given to giving greater weight to applications where community fundraising had taken place.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Regeneration and Development, Councillor Moriarty thanked the officers for their contribution and explained that this had been a light touch look at the way CIL was governed, and a more thorough review would be conducted in the future.  He noted the comments of the Panel Members and Portfolio Holders and explained that the CIL Spending Panel would look at processes in more depth and further changes and proposals would be brought bank to the Panel in due course for consideration.

 

RESOLVED: The Regeneration and Development Panel support the recommendations to Cabinet, as set out below.

 

That Cabinet agree to adopt the arrangements in the CIL Governance and Spending document attached to the report.

RD62:

Update on the Carnegie Library pdf icon PDF 104 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Click here to view the recording of this item on You Tube.

 

Hannah Edge, Head of Communities and Customer Services from Norfolk County Council presented the Panel with an update on future planning, and the engagement plans for the Multiuser Community Hub Project and the Carnegie Library Building.  She explained that throughout November the Communities Team at Norfolk County Council had been gathering feedback and talking to residents to start conversations about the next stage of design for the Multiuser Community Hub and provide residents with the opportunity to talk about the future of the Carnegie Library.

 

Norfolk County Council with support from the Borough Council had jointly produced a timeline to set out intentions of community transition for the community owned Carnegie Library and the update today provided an update on progress.

 

Drop-in sessions had been held for residents along with the opportunity to complete an online feedback form which included the opportunity to suggest future use of the Carnegie Building.  The next stage in the timeline was to engage with interested parties.

 

Hannah Edge provided an overview of some of the comments and interest received from residents and interested parties.  A feedback report would be prepared and published by Norfolk County Council and then an expression of interest process would be carried out.

 

The Chair requested that any available reports be circulated to Councillors as appropriate.

 

The Chair thanked the Head of Communities and Customer Services for the update and invited questions and comments from the Panel, as summarised below.

 

Councillor Kemp thanked the Head of Communities and Customer Services for the work she had been doing with the community and consulting with residents.  She commented that the practicalities of the Carnegie Building were that it was a Grade II Listed Building and would have repairing and maintenance costs, which could prevent community use and put the future of the building at risk.  She commented that it should stay under the ownership of the County Council.  On suggested uses she commented that the building should be used as a museum, gallery or a free public access space.  The Head of Communities and Customer Services thanked Councillor Kemp for her ideas and commented that a sound financial plan would be important, and the Council would work, and support interested parties as much as possible.

 

Councillor Bone commented that the Carnegie building needed to remain in community use and could be used as a museum or a wedding venue.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Crofts, it was explained that a variety of options would be explored once the expression of interest exercise had opened.

 

Councillor Bubb commented that the building should be used to house the many pictures and museum items which were currently in storage, it could also be used for pop up exhibitions.  He commented that the site should not be used for something unworthy, and use needed to reflect the special nature of the building.

 

Councillor Lintern suggested an Asset of Community Value application.  ...  view the full minutes text for item RD62:

RD63:

Work Programme and Forward Decision List pdf icon PDF 158 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following items were suggested for addition to the Work Programme:

 

·        Further workshop session on the Transport Strategy

·        Car Parking Strategy

·        Review of Crematorium Facilities – more appropriate to be presented to the Environment and Community Panel.

·        LCWIP Update

 

RESOLVED: The Panel’s Work Programme and Cabinet Forward Decision List was noted.

RD64:

Date of the next meeting

To note that the next meeting of the Regeneration & Development Panel is scheduled to take place on 9th January 2024 at 6.00pm in the Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King’s Lynn.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Regeneration and Development Panel would be held on Wednesday 10th January 2024 at 6.00pm in the Town Hall, Saturday Market Place, King’s Lynn.