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Strategic Development of Park Street Car Park

Meeting: 19/03/2018 - Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee (Item 26)

26 Strategic Development of Park Street Car Park

The Appendix to this report contains exempt information during which the public is likely to be excluded from the meeting subject to determination by the Scrutiny Committee following consideration of a public interest test. This exclusion would be made under paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Report to follow.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Matter for Decision

The report proposed the redevelopment of Park Street car park to provide a hotel over a basement car park to provide 225 car parking spaces including cycle parking and facilities for electric car charging.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Strategy and Transformation

 

i.  Noted the further appraisal of options for development and upgrading of the Park Street car park carried out for the Council by Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP).

 

ii.  Approved the principle that Park Street car park should be developed into an upgraded basement car park with cycle parking facilities and with a hotel developed above it in line with the proposal in section 2.1 of the report.

 

iii.Granted  an agreement to lease to CIP and request them to  appoint an appropriate developer to develop firm proposals for the scheme, and to request CIP to submit the agreed scheme for planning permission

 

iv.Delegated authority to the Strategic Director, working with the CIP, and the appointed Developer, to negotiate the final terms of agreement for approval by the Executive Councillor in line with the following parameters

 

-  The retention of the freehold of the site for the Council

-  The provision of a 225 space car park and appropriate facilities, at no additional cost to the Council, providing electric charging facilities and cycle spaces, to be owned and managed by the Council. The intention will be for a flexible design which may allow further changes in future

-  An additional capital receipt  for the Council, for reinvestment in further site assembly/council housing opportunities

-  A reduced level of repair and maintenance charges over a short to medium term period within the next  few years (owing to the new provision car park provision)

-  An ongoing income from the car park  (it is acknowledged that there will be a loss of income during the upgrade period which is estimated at 20 months)

 

v.  Confirmed that any capital receipt will be reinvested into HRA or General Fund for investment in housing.

 

vi.  Committed to report back to the Committee for information on the final agreement details ahead of works commencing.

 

 

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 Strategic Director.

 

The Opposition Councillors made the following comments in response to the report:

  i.  Expressed disappointment regarding the proposal as had argued for housing development on the site. 

  ii.  Questioned the parameters that had been considered as thought the housing development was originally going to fund the development of the car park.

  iii.  Commented that the City Council had committed to delivering 500 affordable houses and he believed that this site would be an opportunity to deliver housing on City Council owned land.

  iv.  Asked whether the park street redevelopment was required in order to deliver 500 new council homes.

  v.  Asked whether a different receipt had been modelled to the current proposal.

 

The Strategic Director said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  A considerable amount of officer time had been put into developing a proposal to include housing on the site however the cost of providing affordable housing on the site made any such development unviable.

  ii.  The cost of repairs to the car park were increasing year on year and to completely upgrade the car park would require extra funding; the delivery of housing was unviable on the site.

  iii.  Confirmed that the intention was to explore different financial options including a longer term return for the proposed development.

 

The Executive Councillor for Strategy and Transformation said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The November Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee report wasn’t just about affordable housing delivery, it was about housing delivery. He asked why the Council should contribute to put housing on the site when there would be no affordable housing.

  ii.  The car park in its current condition was not fit for purpose for future needs. The current proposal would fund the redevelopment of a smaller car park and also raise money for the redevelopment of affordable housing off site in the city.

  iii.  To put the decision off for two to three years was not going to help the council or the Cambridge community. 

  iv.  He had looked hard at the site and considered whether it was the right environment for those in housing need to live. It was felt that this was not an ideal location for affordable housing but the resources that that could come out of the current development proposal could do just as much good by funding affordable housing elsewhere in the city.

  v.  The 500 homes that the council had committed to building would be funded by the £70m Government devolution grant, Right to Buy receipts and by using Council resources.

 

Councillor Bick proposed and Councillor Cantrill seconded an amendment to the recommendation, to delete all after the first bullet point and insert ‘to request officers to pause any further action in order to review the financial parameters applied to a housing development, re-evaluating need for car parking and detaching the funding for a replacement car park from the rest of this scheme.’

 

On a show of hands the amendment was lost by 3 votes to 2. 

 

The Committee endorsed the recommendations by 3 votes to 2:

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

 

Conflicts of Interest Declared by the Executive Councillor (and any Dispensations Granted)

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.