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Decision details

New Social Housing – Meadows Centre & Buchan Street

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes

Is subject to call in?: No

Purpose:

Approve a capital budget to redevelop Council sites at the Meadows Centre and Buchan Street for Council housing.

Decision:

Public Speaker

 

Councillor Price addressed the Committee as follows:

  i.  The proposal was an exciting opportunity.

  ii.  The Meadows Community Centre had been an asset to the local community.

  iii.  New development should be even better.

  iv.  The Buchan Street development would provide much needed housing.

 

Matter for Decision

 

The report proposed a redevelopment of The Meadows and Buchan Street sites, to provide much-needed Council rented housing, and a new community centre. It proposed adding these sites to the Council’s Rolling Programme of Housing development, making the resources for the redevelopment available, and working with centre users, neighbours, staff and others to ensure the design of the new homes and community centre provides well for the local community.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor forCommunities:

 

  i.  Approved the rationalisation of two community centres into a new community hub in line with the Community Centres Strategy (June 2017), in order to make land available for much needed Council housing; The development process will ensure that a community centre remains open throughout the redevelopment period; and that local residents and centre users are engaged in the detailed design of the new community facility.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing:

 

  i.  Approved the addition of Meadows and Buchan Street sites to the Rolling Programme, to enable detailed design and project work to proceed

  ii.  Approvedthe indicative mix of the proposed scheme, subject to design and planning, to include a mix of Council rented housing, as set out below:

 

 

Meadows

Buchan

1B2P Flat (Housing First)

 

2

2B4P Flat (Housing First)

 

1

1B2P Flat

58

6

2B4P Flat

27

5

3B5P House

0

7

Totals

85

21

 

 

 

Community Centre GIA

1583m2

 

Retail space GIA

 

148m2

 

  iii.  Recommended to Council the inclusion of an indicative budget of £26,379,880 in the Housing Capital Programme (to be presented to Council in the HRA BSR).

 

  iv.  ­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Authorised the Strategic Director, delegation exercised in consultation with the Executive Councillor, Chair and Spokes following future business planning, to seek approval from the Secretary of State for use of HRA resources to fund part of the cost of the Community Centre and commercial unit (on the basis that this would aid the release of land for much needed housing in line with national government policy), subject to this being viable within a revised HRA business plan, and to vary the contributions recommended from the Housing Revenue Account and the General Fund in the light of the decision.

 

  v.  Approved that the site is offered to CIP to progress in accordance with the CIP process which was approved at Strategy & Resources Committee on 9th October 2017 subject to a value for money assessment to be carried out on behalf of the Council prior to entering into the Agreement for Lease set out in that process.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Manager, Housing Development Agency.

 

The Committee made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Thanked officers for work over a number of years that had brought this project to the point of delivery.

  ii.  Expressed regret at the loss of green space.

  iii.  Concerns were raised about conflicting demands for parking and the level of provision for the new housing units.

 

The Manager, Housing Development Agency said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The new facility would be slightly larger than the combined size of the two existing community facilities.

  ii.  Stated that the remaining green space would require better management to ensure the full benefit was achieved.

  iii.  The proposed building would cross the City /South Cambs boundary and planning permissions would need to take this into account.

  iv.  Sports England was expected to approve the plans.

  v.  Existing users would be given priority when allocating resources in the new facility. 

 

The Executive Councillor for Communities confirmed that a range of consultations had taken place and the resulting scheme was intended to meet as much need as possible.

 

Councillor Cantrill expressed concerns that an application was being submitted to the Secretary of State regarding the use of HRA funds for the community building when full business case had not been completed. He asked for an assurance that this Committee would have sight of the business case before such an application was submitted.

 

Councillor Cantrill proposed an amendment to delete recommendation 2.2.4.

 

Authorise the Strategic Director to seek approval from the Secretary of State for use of HRA resources to fund part of the cost of the Community Centre and commercial unit (on the basis that this would aid the release of land for much needed housing in line with national government policy), subject to this being viable within a revised HRA business plan, and to vary the contributions recommended from the Housing Revenue Account and the General Fund in the light of the decision.

 

The Strategic Director suggested additional wording to recommendation 2.2.4 could achieve the desired level of scrutiny.

 

Councillor Cantrill withdrew the proposed amendment to delete recommendation 2.2.4 and proposed the following amended wording (additional text in bold):

 

Authorise the Strategic Director, subject to final approval from the Housing Scrutiny Committee,to seek approval from the Secretary of State for use of HRA resources to fund part of the cost of the Community Centre and commercial unit (on the basis that this would aid the release of land for much needed housing in line with national government policy), subject to this being viable within a revised HRA business plan, and to vary the contributions recommended from the Housing Revenue Account and the General Fund in the light of the decision.

 

The amendment was lost by 3 votes to 4.

 

Following Committee discussions, the following amendment to recommendation 2.2.4 was proposed:

 

Authorise the Strategic Director, delegation exercised in consultation with the Executive Councillor, Chair and Spokes following future business planning,to seek approval from the Secretary of State for use of HRA resources to fund part of the cost of the Community Centre and commercial unit (on the basis that this would aid the release of land for much needed housing in line with national government policy), subject to this being viable within a revised HRA business plan, and to vary the contributions recommended from the Housing Revenue Account and the General Fund in the light of the decision.

 

This amendment was carried by 4 votes to 0.

 

 

The Committee resolved (by 4 votes to 0) to endorse the recommendation 2.1.1.

 

The Executive Councillor for Communities approved the recommendation.

 

The Committee resolved (by 4 votes to 0) to endorse the recommendation 2.2.1 to 2.2.6 (as amended)

 

The Executive Councillor for Housing approved the recommendations.

Publication date: 05/04/2019

Date of decision: 16/01/2019