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Decisions published

11/01/2022 - North East Cambridge Area Action Plan: Proposed Submission (Regulation 19) ref: 5322    Recommendations Approved

To agree the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan: Proposed Submission (regulation 19) and supporting documents, topic papers and evidence for future public consultation, contingent upon the separate Development Control Order being undertaken by Anglian Water for the relocation of the Waste Water Treatment Plant being approved.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning and Infrastructure

Decision published: 04/05/2022

Effective from: 11/01/2022

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report?sought agreement of the?Proposed Submission?North East Cambridge?Area Action Plan (AAP) that establishes the Councils,?policies, and proposals for managing development,?regeneration,?and investment in North East Cambridge over the next?twenty?years and beyond.

 

Decision of the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport.

  i.  Agreed the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan: Proposed Submission (Regulation 19) (Appendix A1)?and?Proposed Submission Policies Map (Appendix A2)?for future public consultation, contingent upon the separate Development Control Order being undertaken by Anglian Water for the relocation of the Waste Water Treatment Plant being approved.

  ii.  Noted the Draft Final Sustainability Report (Appendix B of the Officer’s report), and?Habitats Regulation Assessment (Appendix C of the Officer’s report)?and agree them as supporting documents to the?North East Cambridge Area Action Plan: Proposed Submission (Regulation 19)?that will also be subject to?future?public consultation.

  iii.  Agreed the following supporting documents to?future?public consultation:?

a.  Statement of Consultation, including the Councils’ consideration of and responses to representations received to the?draft North East Cambridge Area Action Plan (Regulation 18)?consultation 2020 (Appendix?D of the Officer’s report)?

b.  Duty to Cooperate Compliance Statement (Appendix (Appendix?E of the Officer’s report)?

c.  Draft Duty to Cooperate Statement of Common Ground (Appendix?F of the Officer’s report)

d.  Equalities Impact Assessment (Appendix?G of the Officer’s report)?

e.  Topic papers (Appendix?H of the Officer’s report).?

  iv.  Agreed the findings of the following background evidence documents prepared by the Councils that have?informed the?North East Cambridge Area Action Plan: Proposed Submission?and are proposed to accompany?future?public consultation:?

a.  Typologies Study and Development Capacity Assessment (Appendix I1 of the Officer’s report);?

b.  Surface Water Drainage Core Principles (Appendix I2 of the Officer’s report)

c.  Chronology of the feasibility investigations of redevelopment of the Cambridge Wastewater Treatment Plant (Appendix I3 of the Officer’s report).

  v.  Noted the findings of the background evidence documents that have informed the?North East Cambridge Area Action Plan: Proposed Submission?and are proposed to?accompany the public consultation (see Background documents to the Officer’s report)

  vi.  Agreed that any subsequent material amendments be made by the Cambridge Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport in consultation with Chair and Spokes, and by the South Cambridgeshire Lead Member for Planning, both in consultation with the Joint Local Planning Advisory Group (JLPAG).

 vii.  Agreed that any subsequent minor amendments and editing changes be delegated to the Joint Director of Planning and Economic in consultation with Cambridge Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport and by the South Cambridgeshire Lead Member for Planning.

 

 

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 Principal Planning Policy Officer.

 

In response to Member’s comments the Principal Planning Policy Officer, Strategic Planning Consultant and Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development said the following:

 

  i.  As part of the AAP the retail and town centre evidence-based study had been updated, considering the revised development numbers and amendments to the spatial framework.

  ii.  Five local centres had now been proposed rather than the original four.

  iii.  All homes would be within a five-minute walk of the retail centre that would accommodate resident’s day to day needs.

  iv.  The shop policy had been designed to encourage a variety of individual retailers. In total there would be around 107 units available.

  v.  Appreciated that residents would need access to supermarkets and the AAP outlined five food stores to come forward within those centres.

  vi.  Advised that people’s shopping habits had changed with an increase in on-line shopping; were promoting consolidation hubs which would minimise vehicle movements within the APP area.

 vii.  With no onsite secondary school provision, safe and convenient pedestrian and cycle routes for children to access local schools in the area had been explored.

viii.  Welcomed the redevelopment of the Cambridge Business Park which would include a mix of business, residential and community use.

  ix.  One of the constraints of the Science Park was the lengthy leases that some of the buildings had, if development had been allocated on to those individual plots it would not be possible to demonstrate that the Plan was deliverable within the plan period.

  x.  Envisaged that residential streets in the AAP area would not be a place where vehicles would be parked, and the streets would become part of public life. 

  xi.  Reluctant to place a definition on the term ‘local people’ used in the AAP. However, there was a local connection test used for brownfield sites which could be applicable.

 xii.  Privately managed community facilities were secured with a community use agreement through planning permission which ensured community use. Those facilities also had to remain commercially viable.

xiii.  Affordable housing needed to be truly affordable. Housing officers would assist in setting the correct rent levels.

xiv.  Currently there were provision for three primary schools. Discussions were being held with County Council Officers to rethink how a school building should be designed, moving away from the single storey land hungry element, and becoming multi-functional.

xv.  A secondary school had not been proposed as The County Council forecast did not deem a secondary school necessary in the AAP area. This would also mean those living in the area would integrate more widely with those outside of the area.

xvi.  Secondary schools were incredibly land hungry and expensive to deliver and there would be significant implications on some of the delivery of the AAP should such a school be built.

xvii.  Agreed it was important to understand the delivery of spaces and the quantity of activities that could take place within them.

xviii.  Recognised the significance of the relationship between density, open space and the impact on residents including their mental health.

xix.  Officers had spent large amount of time over a number of years speaking with representatives from the Science Park to discuss how the space could be integrated within the community.

xx.  Acknowledged the comment that the Arcadia development was viewed as ‘insular’ by residents and had engaged with the landowners to ensure that new facilities were much more generous and open. 

xxi.  Noted the concern expressed regarding the amount of formal open space provision.

 

Councillor Bick proposed and Councillor Porrer seconded the following amendment to the recommendation (additional text underlined, and deleted text struck through):

 

The Executive Councillor is recommended to:

1. Agree the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan: Proposed Submission (Regulation 19) (Appendix A1)?and?Proposed Submission Policies Map (Appendix A2)?for future public consultation, contingent upon the separate Development Control Order being undertaken by Anglian Water for the relocation of the Waste Water Treatment Plant being approved;?

2. Note the Draft Final Sustainability Report (Appendix B), and?Habitats Regulation Assessment (Appendix C)?and agree them as supporting documents to the?North East Cambridge Area Action Plan: Proposed Submission (Regulation 19)?that will also be subject to?future?public consultation;?

3. Agree the following supporting documents to?future?public consultation:? a. Statement of Consultation, including the Councils’ consideration of and responses to representations received to the?draft North East Cambridge Area Action Plan (Regulation 18)?consultation 2020 (Appendix?D);? b. Duty to Cooperate Compliance?Statement?(Appendix?E);? c. Draft Duty to Cooperate Statement of Common Ground (Appendix?F);? d. Equalities Impact Assessment (Appendix?G);? e. Topic papers (Appendix?H).?

4. Agree the findings of the following background evidence documents prepared by the Councils that have?informed the?North East Cambridge Page 762 Report page no. 3 Agenda page no. Area Action Plan: Proposed Submission?and are proposed to accompany?future?public consultation:? a. Typologies Study and Development Capacity Assessment (Appendix I1);? b. Surface Water Drainage Core Principles (Appendix I2);? c. Chronology of the feasibility investigations of redevelopment of the Cambridge Waste Water Treatment Plant (Appendix I3).

5. Note the findings of the background evidence documents that have informed the?North East Cambridge Area Action Plan: Proposed Submission?and are proposed to?accompany the public consultation (see Background documents to this report);?

 6. Agree that any subsequent material amendments be made by the Cambridge Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport in consultation with Chair and Spokes, and by the South Cambridgeshire Lead Member for Planning, both in consultation with the JLPAG;?

7. Agree that any subsequent minor amendments and editing changes be delegated to the Joint Director of Planning and Economic in consultation with Cambridge Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport and by the South Cambridgeshire Lead Member for Planning.

1. Defer decisions on the North East Cambridge Area Action Plan: Proposed Submission (Regulation 19) and Proposed Submission Policies Map for the shortest feasible period until options of alternative mixes allowing greater on-site achievement of the Local Plan policy standard for formal open space have been considered by members.

The Joint Director for Planning and Economic Development advised the work required to consider the alternative mix of land use and the consultation process would take a further twelve-months to develop and then to engage with statutory consultees.  A delay could create a risk that the Development Consent Order Process would not proceed until the AAP had been agreed which would impact the Local Plan and AAP timetable. The current trajectory for adoption of the Local Plan was that the Plan would be more than five years old. An out of date Local Plan would mean that local polices would be given less weight for planning decisions.

The amendment was lost by 3 votes to 5 votes.

The Committee

The Committee endorsed the recommendations as set out in the Officer’s report by 5 votes to 0.

 

The Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport 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.

Lead officer: Caroline Hunt


11/01/2022 - Authority Monitoring Report 2020-21 ref: 5320    Recommendations Approved

To agree publication of the report.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning and Infrastructure

Decision published: 04/05/2022

Effective from: 11/01/2022

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report referred to the Authority Monitoring Report (AMR) for Greater Cambridge 2020-2021.

 

Decision of the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport.

  i.  Agreed the Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council - Authority Monitoring Report for Greater Cambridge 2020-2021 (included as Appendix A of the Officer’s report) for publication on the Councils’ websites.

  ii.  Delegated any further minor editing changes to the Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Council - Authority Monitoring Report for Greater Cambridge 2020-2021 to the Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development, in consultation with the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport, and the Chair and Spokes for the Planning Policy and Transport Scrutiny Committee, including the final designed version of Appendix 3.

 

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 Senior Policy Planner and Principal Planning Policy Officer who in response to Members’ questions said the following:

  i.  The main reason the total number of completions of affordable housing was lower than 40% was that the policy only requires 40% affordable homes on schemes of 15 dwellings or more, a lower requirement of 25% affordable homes applies to schemes of 10-14 dwellings, and there is no requirement for affordable housing on sites with 10 dwellings or less in accordance with the National Planning Policy Framework.

  ii.  It is important to differentiate between permissions and completions when looking at the affordable housing data. A planning permission that secures 40% affordable homes may not complete 40% affordable homes each year, instead the proportion of affordable homes completed on a development will vary each year. 

  iii.  Out of the 850 completions so far at the Eddington site, 686 were affordable, therefore currently at 81% affordable homes. The policy is for 50% affordable homes on this development, and therefore this is what we would expect to see when the scheme is completed.

  iv.  The reference to life expectancy in the city was looked at in terms of general impacts of our policies and therefore is considered at district level.

  v.  The AMR currently looks at delivery of new developments in terms of new homes and new buildings, but can look to include wider information in future, such as delivery of other infrastructure like the bus route through Darwin Green. Also, in terms of transport schemes, the AMR does not provide an update on all schemes, it just highlights those where progress has been made in the monitoring year, which is why the Greater Cambridge Partnership Milton Road Scheme has not been specifically mentioned.

  vi.  With regards to the local centres with below 50% retail, the 6 centres had been referenced on p298 of the Officer’s report.

  vii.  The purpose of the AMR is to look backwards and therefore reports up to April 2021. There is also now an obligation to report on s106 outcomes each year. Neither would pick up outstanding works, but this was something that could be looked at for future reporting.

 

The Committee

The Committee unanimously endorsed the Officers recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport approved the recommendations.

 

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

Lead officer: Stephen Kelly


11/01/2022 - Review of Taxicard and Transport Initiatives ref: 5319    Recommendations Approved

The report will provide an update on the revised scheme for existing and new Taxicard members with recommendations for that scheme and for the future provision of Transport Initiatives for the disabled and Bus Subsidies.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning and Infrastructure

Decision published: 04/05/2022

Effective from: 11/01/2022

Decision:

Matter for Decision

At the June Planning and Transport meeting, the Executive Councillor approved the undertaking of a review in relation to the Council’s Transport Initiatives. This would include the City Council’s Taxicard Scheme, Cambridge City Bus Subsidies and Cambridge Dial-a-Ride.

 

The review was to have been undertaken working with the Council’s partners including the Greater Cambridge Partnership (GCP) but had been completed without input from the GCP due to resource constraints.

 

The report referred to the recommendations in relation to the review.

 

Decision of the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport.

  i.  Approved the proposed changes to the Taxicard scheme for Taxicard members to be implemented from 1 April 2022.

  ii.  Agreed to stop the provision of the City Council’s subsidy for the Citi 1 Night Bus Service from 1 April 2022.

  iii.  Approved the continuation to fund Cambridge Dial-a-Ride with a Grant Agreement for the 2022/23 financial year to the value of £40k.

  iv.  Noted future joined up working with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) and the GCP regarding existing City bus subsidies linked with the Bus Service Improvement Plan and City Access projects.

  v.  Continued to approve the Head of Human Resources’ delegated authority, in liaison with the Executive Councillor for Planning and Transport, and consultation with the Chair and Spokespersons for Planning and Transport Scrutiny Committee, to make any changes that may be necessary to support the transport initiatives and schemes going forward, until such time as a wider decision around the policy and strategy decisions is agreed

 

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 Head of Human Resources and the Corporate Business & Executive Support Manager.

 

The Corporate Business & Executive Manager informed the Committee there was an error in the report at paragraph 3.2, in respect of the times of operation for the Stagecoach Citi 2 and 3 services, in so far as the times not all being shown as a 24-hour clock.  For the Citi 2, ‘1046’ should have read ‘2246’ and for the Citi 3, ‘1032’ as ‘2232’. To confirm, the Citi 3, 2240, 2310 and 2340 departures from Cherry Hinton Tesco run as commercial services. 

 

In response to comments made by the Committee, the Head of Human Resources, the Corporate Business & Executive Support Manager and Executive Councillor said the following:

  i.  In respect of Citi 2 and 3 bus services the times had not been converted to the 24-hour clock.

  ii.  As the Taxicard scheme continues a report should be brought to committee at a later date to provide an update on how the changes to the scheme had met the original aim of increasing Taxicard membership and to feedback on how the scheme was being promoted which to date had included Cambridge Matters and Open Door.

  iii.  The taxi card scheme is relevant to an individual; if there are two members of a family eligible to qualify for a Taxicard they could apply and receive vouchers in their own right.

  iv.  Would hope there would be an increase in the number of individuals using the scheme when the next report was brought to Committee.

  v.  Noted the comment that the budget for the provision of Bus Subsidies would be reduced if the recommendations were approved to stop the provision of the Citi 1 Nightbus.

  vi.  Noted the concern expressed at the equalities audit in relation to the Taxicard scheme which had looked at the scheme in general but did not address what would happen to those individuals who run out of vouchers.

 vii.  Advised that the budget for the Taxicard scheme had been underspent for many years and there was no proposal to cut the budget for this scheme; the vouchers could only be used in the full amount and therefore with the revision of different denominations of voucher value, the option to use as many vouchers per trip and the changes made to the eligibility criteria on the application form would mean greater flexibility for members. 

 

Councillor Porrer proposed and Councillor Bick seconded the following amendments to the recommendation (additional text underlined, and deleted text struck through):

 

1. Approve the proposed changes to the Taxicard scheme for Taxicard members to be implemented from 1 April 2022 – see 3.1.1.

Defer the proposed changes to the Taxicard scheme until a full report of the budgetary context of the reduced value of vouchers provided to eligible participants has been considered by councillors, along with further feedback on how those who will run out of vouchers can be supported, in particular those on lower incomes and with protected characteristics, and a revised Equalities Audit provided which fully notes the survey responses and the reduction in allowance per scheme member.

 

2. Stop the provision of the City Council’s subsidy for the Citi 1 Night Bus Service from 1 April 2022 – see 3.2.1

Councillor Bick then proposed and Councillor Porrer seconded the following amendments to the recommendation (additional text underlined, and deleted text struck through):

2(a) Review and decide the future of the subsidy for the Citi 1 Night Bus only when information on users, costs and contract can be presented for consideration;

2(b) Seek to recover the subsidy paid over the period that the service was not operated and to recommence payments as soon as Stagecoach is prepared to re-start the service. 

3. Continue to fund Cambridge Dial-a-Ride with a Grant Agreement for the 2022/23 financial year to the value of £40k - see 3.3.1.

4. Note future joined up working with Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (CPCA) and the GCP regarding existing City bus subsidies linked with the Bus Service Improvement Plan and City Access projects – see 3.4.1

5. Continue to approve the Head of Human Resources’ delegated authority, in liaison with the Executive Councillor for Planning and Transport, and consultation with the Chair and Spokesperson for Planning and Transport Scrutiny Committee, to make any changes that may be necessary to support the transport initiatives and schemes going forward, until such time as a wider decision around the policy and strategy decisions is agreed.

A vote on was taken on both amendments which was lost by 3 votes to 5 votes. 

The Committee

The Committee endorsed the Officers recommendations by 5 votes to 3 Votes.

 

The Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport 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.

Lead officer: Deborah Simpson


28/03/2022 - Sale of 11A Thorpe Way ref: 5318    Recommendations Approved

Whether the proposed sale of the freehold interest is approved

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Finance, Resources and Transformation

Decision published: 04/05/2022

Effective from: 28/03/2022

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report referred to the leaseholder’s request of 11 Thorpe Way to buy the freehold of the property.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Strategy and External Partnerships

  i.  Approved the freehold transfer of 11 Thorpe Way to the current leaseholder.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee considered a report from the Head of Property Services.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.

 

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

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Lead officer: Dave Prinsep


28/03/2022 - General Fund Revenue Carry-Forwards ref: 5317    Recommendations Approved

To recommend to Council to approve in principle, the carry forward of estimated revenue budget amounts from 2021/22 to 2022/23.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Finance, Resources and Transformation

Decision published: 04/05/2022

Effective from: 28/03/2022

Decision:

Matter for Decision

This report presented details of anticipated variances from budgets, where resources were requested to be carried forward into the 2022/23 financial year in order to undertake or complete activities anticipated to have taken place in 2021/22.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources

  i.  Agreed the provisional carry forward requests, totalling £579,010 as detailed in Appendix A of the Officer’s report, recommended to Council to approve, subject to the final outturn position.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee considered a report from the Head of Finance.

 

In response to a question on the underspend on Finance General (p39, appendix A) and whether that meant that services had not been delivered as budgeted, the Head of Finance advised this information would be provided outside of the meeting as the cost centre was a mix of different corporate amounts and she would have to look at the detail. 

 

The Committee unanimously resolved by 4 votes to 0 to endorse the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.

 

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

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Lead officer: Caroline Ryba


28/03/2022 - Update on the Work of Key External Partnerships ref: 5316    Recommendations Approved

Note the achievements and progress of the strategic partnerships that the City Council is engaged with.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for External Partnerships

Decision published: 04/05/2022

Effective from: 28/03/2022

Decision:

The report provided an update on the work of the following partnerships:

·  The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority (including the Business Board)

·  Greater Cambridge Partnership

·  Fast Growing Cities

·  Innovation Corridor (London-Stanstead-Cambridge Consortium)

·  Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford Arc.

 

The report highlighted the considerable amount of activity that was taking place in tackling some of the “big challenges” that the city was facing. It also outlined the ongoing joint working between partners and government to help meet these challenges. This year had included responding to the pandemic, which involved partners findings ways to pull together to both ameliorate and find solutions to its impacts.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for External Partnerships

  i.  Noted the achievements and progress of the strategic partnerships that the City Council is engaged with, outlined in the Officer’s report.

 

Reason for the Decision

As set out in the Officer’s report.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee considered a report from the Assistant Chief Executive.

 

In response to a question concerning the Oxford to Cambridge Arc the Executive Councillor advised that this was not a Central Government priority. However, the City Council was keen to develop broader relationships with those councils along the Arc and to secure East West Rail.

 

The Committee discussed the Fast-Growing Cities referenced in the report, the returns on the financial contributions these cities made to national Government and how strategic lobbying of government was needed to support fast-growing cities. 

The Assistant Chief Executive responded that over the last ten years the Council had secured a large amount of Government funding, referencing examples from the Government funded City Deal (the most generous deal per head per population of any City Deals done at that time), the Combined Authority funding including £70million for 500 council houses in Cambridge, and the potential £200+million for the relocation of the waste water treatment plant from North East Cambridge. But despite these grants and future funding the city faced economic, environmental, and social challenges.

 

The Executive Councillor highlighted the work that the Centre for Cities think tank had completed, including a report on the impact of COVID on cities. Although the Council did not agree with all the suggestions put forward, the need for affordable housing and highlighting the inequality throughout the city strengthened the requirement for continued funding.

 

In answer to a question concerning the projects that had been put forward for funding from the Combined Authority’s medium-term budget, the Executive Councillor stated normally there would have been greater engagement with members for their input, but this had not been possible due to the deadline set had meant additional work for officers during the budget setting period and other major works.

 

The City Portrait (p20) referenced in the report was part of the language used in doughnut economics; a relatively low-cost project to produce a summary analysis of equality, climate, and environmental impacts in the city.

 

Noted the comment that the work had been undertaken on the Local Plan and emerging Greater Cambridge Local Plan which was an opportunity to link this work and City Portrait work together. 

 

Agreed that the Combined Authority should encourage all Councillors and the public to have an input in future projects and works.

 

The Assistant Chief Executive advised there were various sources of gathering data which the Council could explore. The Combined Authority-funded City Portrait project could determine if these research methods were applicable which may help inform balanced and rounded decision making understanding the interplay between the social, environmental, and economic factors.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.

 

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

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Lead officer: Graham Saint


15/03/2022 - First Homes Interim Statement ref: 5315    Recommendations Approved

To agree a policy statement on how the council will implement the government’s new First Homes initiative on new developments.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 04/05/2022

Effective from: 15/03/2022

Decision:

Matter for Decision

First Homes is a new form of affordable home ownership aimed at first time buyers. National Guidance states that 25% of all new affordable housing provided as developer contributions on section 106 sites should be provided as First Homes (with a few exceptions). Other requirements also apply although local authorities are allowed some limited flexibilities in how they bring First Homes forward.

 

This report recommends how the national policy should be implemented locally through a proposed First Homes Interim Position Statement for Greater Cambridge which is attached at Appendix 1 to the report. 

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

i.  Approved the First Homes Interim Position Statement at Appendix 1 to the officer’s report, in particular that:

a.  The preferred split between affordable housing tenures will be: 25% First Homes; 5% shared ownership or other intermediate tenures; and 70% social/affordable rent.

b.  The price cap for a First Home, once the discount has been applied, will be £250,000 in line with the maximum cap allowed within national guidance.

c.  The discount applied to a First Home will be 30% of market value in line with the minimum discount allowed within the national guidance.

d.  The household income cap for eligible applicants for First Homes will be up to £80,000 in line with the maximum income allowed with in the national guidance.

e.  For developments which cross the boundary into South Cambridgeshire, and/or where joint nominations on the affordable homes have been agreed, any purchaser of a First Home  will need to  have a local connection to either Cambridge City or South Cambridgeshire District Council; this will apply for the first three months of marketing in line with national guidance.

f.  For developments within Cambridge City which do not cross the boundary into South Cambridge or where no joint nominations on the affordable housing have been agreed, any purchaser of a First Home will need to have a local connection to Cambridge City. This will apply for the first three months of marketing in line with national guidance.

g.  The First Homes local connection criteria to be applied will be as detailed in paragraphs 4.21 to 4.27 of the First Homes Interim Position Statement shown at Appendix 1 to this report.

h.  No specific priority will be given to ‘key workers’ but the council may work with developers and employer organisations to ensure that marketing is targeted towards particular employers where appropriate.

i.  Where developers wish to bring forward a First Homes exception site in Cambridge City they will need to demonstrate that the availability of First Homes or other affordable home ownership tenures is insufficient within Cambridge City to cater for the needs of first-time buyers.

j.  The  First Homes Interim Position Statement at Appendix 1 to this report will only be used when a development proposal includes reference to First Homes as part of affordable housing provision. If a development proposal does not refer to First Homes, the affordable housing split detailed in Annexe 5 of the Greater Cambridge Housing Strategy 2019-2023 (or successor document) will apply.

k.  Any subsequent minor amendments and editing changes to the First Homes Interim Position Statement and/or the First Homes Issues & Options paper, that do not materially affect the content, be delegated to the Director of Housing & Communities in consultation with the Executive Councillor for Housing, the Executive Councillor for Planning and relevant Chairs and Spokes.

 

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 Housing Strategy Manager.

 

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

i.  Expressed concerns with the concept of ‘First Homes’ and noted that in Appendix 1 paragraph 4.13 that a household would need an income of £55,000 per year to be able to afford a First Home in Cambridge and that average salaries are much lower than that. Queried how many people would be able to benefit from this new scheme.

ii.  Supported comments made in i. above. Felt the way in which Central Government had developed the scheme that it may do more harm than good. Queried recommendation h which stated that no specific priority would be given to key workers.  Noted that the Mayor in London had created a definition for key workers. Asked if any data had been gathered regarding housing need in certain key areas / jobs. Would welcome a definition of ‘key worker’ going forward.

 

The Housing Strategy Manager said the following in response to Members’ questions:

i.  Noted in relation to the query regarding recommendation h that Addenbrookes had undertaken a piece of work looking at gaps in housing need for their workers.  Officers had also had discussions with Cambridgeshire County Council about their workers; they had said that they would provide evidence around housing need and the impact on their services but this had not been provided to date.

 

The Executive Councillor drew attention to a letter which had been sent to Michael Gove on pages 125-130 of the agenda which set out the council’s concerns regarding First Homes.

 

The Committee resolved by 6 votes to 0 to endorse the recommendations.

 

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.

Lead officer: Helen Reed


15/03/2022 - Update on New Build Council Housing Delivery ref: 5314    Recommendations Approved

Regular update on the delivery of new council homes under the 500 programme, together with an update on the work being undertaken to deliver an additional 1,000 Council homes, building on the success of the current programme.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 04/05/2022

Effective from: 15/03/2022

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report provided an update on the housing development programme.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

  i.  Noted the continued progress on the delivery of the approved housing programme.

 

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 Head of the Housing Development Agency.

 

The Head of the Housing Development Agency said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The housing development programme was a 10-year programme to deliver 1000 homes. The Council had been fortunate to secure £70 million of funding from the Combined Authority for the previous ‘500 council homes’ programme. Would report back on further discussions she had with Homes England regarding further funding bids.

  ii.  A planning application for housing development had been granted at Fen Road. This was one of the schemes Homes England grant funding had been sought for. If successful, the council hoped to be begin the development in the summer. An assessment of the need for accessible homes had been undertaken, larger accessible homes were required. Accessible homes have generally be provided as 1-2 bed properties.

  iii.  The Executive Councillor had met with the organisation ‘It Takes a City’ to discuss the provision of more modular homes. It was hoped that more modular homes could be provided once appropriate land had been identified.

  iv.  Properties built through the council’s housing development programme were built to M42 standard which meant that they could be adapted in the future. Accessible properties tended to be 10metres larger and therefore cost more to build. Discussions about suitable locations for modular homes took place with Ward Councillors. Welcomed a visit with councillors around the new developments. 

  v.  New housing development sites were assessed through the planning process in accordance with the Housing Sustainable Design Guide. This included an assessment regarding the use of water.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.

 

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

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Lead officer: Claire Flowers


15/03/2022 - Private Sector Housing Report ref: 5313    Recommendations Approved

The Executive Councillor is recommended to: Note the contents of this report, assessing progress on the work as outlined in the report and in time for any new bids to be submitted in the budget for the following year.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 04/05/2022

Effective from: 15/03/2022

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report outlined:

·  The structure of the Council’s Residential Team, Environmental Health, Environmental Services.

·  The work of the Residential Team in relation to improvement of private sector rented homes within the City in Quarter 1 – Quarter 3 2021/22 for which complete data was available.

·  The Teams Operational Plan for 2022/23 in relation to private rented sector homes within the Environmental Health Operational Plan.

·  Matters on the horizon in relation to the private rented sector for 2022 / 23 and beyond including Government reform.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

  i.  Noted the contents of the report, which assessed progress on the work detailed in the report in time for any new bids to be submitted in the budget for the following year.

 

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 Residential Team Manager, Environmental Services.

 

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

  i.  Drew the committee’s attention to paragraphs 3.20-3.21 of the officer’s report. Noted a reduction in the number of complaints in 2020 due to the pandemic but noted that an increase in the number of complaints was encouraging as it showed residents were beginning to feel confident about reporting complaints and that covid secure visits could now be made. Asked why the number of complaints had increased particularly in Petersfield, Queen Edith’s, Coleridge, and West Chesterton wards.

  ii.  Noted the private rented sector had grown by 40% based on the 2011 census data. Noted some private rented properties in Cambridge were not well looked after and that the council would take action where required. Asked for the report to contain a full year’s worth of information and asked to see the last 4 years’ worth of data, including housing complaints, breakdown of houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) and data on enforcement. Asked what ‘HMO specific’ complaints were.

  iii.  Asked with reference to recommendation D what targeted / pro-active work around HMOs looked like. Asked what anti-social behaviour from tenants referred to. Asked whether tenants could be included in this work. Asked if there could be a webpage explaining tenants’ rights if they did not feel that they were living in safe accommodation. Noted that it was mostly commercial landlords who offered short term lets and as the number of short term let accommodation increased this reduced the housing stock available. 

  iv.  Asked if the 2011 or 2021 census data would detail whether people lived in social rented accommodation or private rented accommodation.

  v.  Asked if the housing complaints detailed on page 61 of the agenda were raised by tenants or if some were raised by neighbours or other people in the community. Noted that some tenants may be cautious about raising concerns / issues with the council and often relied on neighbours or others within the community to bring complaints to the council’s attention so that they did not get any reprisal from the landlord or the managing agent. 

  vi.  Noted that student accommodation did not suit all students for example those undertaking teacher training courses / nurses, as these students may not be in Cambridge for the whole year. Some of these students had ended up using Air BnBs, which was an insecure type of accommodation. Expressed concerns regarding short-term letting accommodation.

 vii.  Was keen to see the 2021 census data built into any follow up report and commented that the September Housing Scrutiny Committee may allow time for officers to assess this information and formulate any budget bids to follow up actions as appropriate.

 

The Residential Team Manager, Environmental Services and the Housing Strategy Manager. said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  Believed the reduction in the number of complaints about private sector housing was due to the hesitancy to make complaints during the pandemic. Even when the eviction ban was in place, felt residents were still uncertain about making complaints owing to the perceived need for an inspection of the property and / or any reprisals from landlords. Petersfield, Queens Edith’s, Coleridge and West Chesterton wards had a high percentage of student housing which tended to be multiple occupied accommodation. When tenancies changed (when students moved on) there tended to be a heightened number of complaints. 

  ii.  Would discuss with the Executive Councillor the best way to provide the additional data requested. HMO specific complaints were complaints relating to a landlord’s failure to comply with statutory requirements for HMOs including fire precautions and associated management requirement for these properties. 

  iii.  Had undertaken data mapping work in conjunction with Revenue and Benefits colleagues to identify where suspected HMOs were across the city. The pro-active work would involve inspecting un-licensed licensable HMO properties. A review of the information available for tenants on the council’s website could be undertaken, this has been reviewed during the pandemic in-line with associated changes to complaint investigation procedure. The Landlord Steering Group had recently been resurrected but it could be investigated to see if private sector tenant representatives could be represented at this group. Acknowledged short term lettings was a national issue. Noted that local authorities in Scotland had been asked to administer a short term let licensing scheme. Would have to wait and see whether England introduced a similar scheme in response to private sector housig reform and the Levelling Up White Paper.

  iv.  Census data was broken down by housing tenure and included whether a property was a council property, a housing association property, shared ownership or if it was privately owned.

  v.  Generally complaints were made by tenants but issues could also be raised by neighbours or support workers.

  vi.  Her team works closely with the planning enforcement team with regards to short term let accommodation.

 

The Executive Councillor thanked the officer for their report and noted that the number of comments which had been made showed how seriously the committee took the issue. Agreed that an updated report would be brought back to the committee in the future.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.

 

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

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Lead officer: Claire Adelizzi


15/03/2022 - HRA Revenue Carry Forwards 2021/22 ref: 5312    Recommendations Approved

Approval in principle of HRA revenue carry forwards from 2021/22 into 2022/23.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 04/05/2022

Effective from: 15/03/2022

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report presented details of anticipated variances from budgets, where resources are requested to be carried forward into the 2022/23 financial year in order to undertake or complete activities anticipated to have taken place in 2021/22.

 

The position in relation to rephasing of any investment as part of the Housing Capital Investment Plan would be reported to Housing Scrutiny Committee in the June 2022 committee cycle, alongside final revenue carry forward requests.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

  i.  Agreed the provisional carry forward requests, totalling £1,416,280 as detailed in the revised Appendix A, subject to the final outturn position.

 

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 Assistant Head of Finance and Business Manager.

 

The Assistant Head of Finance and Business Manager and the Head of Housing Maintenance and Assets said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  In a number of cases the carry forwards were to complete work which had already begun under an existing contract where there was a fixed price within the contract to complete the work. Any areas where prices weren’t fixed were included in the budget process for 2022/23. This included an additional amount for inflation which wasn’t allocated out to individual expenditure heads to allow this to be allocated in-year to any areas which were subject to higher than anticipated levels of inflation. Since this provision was made in January, inflation has continued to increase. Resource would be allocated accordingly to any areas where financial pressure occurred. This would be reviewed with the budget before the Mid-Year Financial Strategy was brought to Committee in September. 

  ii.  The heat and smoke detector installation delays weren’t due to officer/contractor capacity but was due to the ability of the council to gain access to properties. Officers were exploring other ways to gain access to properties, which included for example seeing if works could be undertaken at the same time as gas servicing checks. 

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.

 

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

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Lead officer: Julia Hovells


15/03/2022 - Estates & Facilities Compliance Data ref: 5311    Recommendations Approved

The report provides an update on the Estates & Facilities on compliance related work within the service, including a summary on gas servicing, electrical testing and fire safety.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 04/05/2022

Effective from: 15/03/2022

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report provided an update on the compliance related activities delivered within the Estates & Facilities Team, including a summary on gas servicing, electrical testing, and fire safety work.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

  i.  Noted the Council’s current position regarding compliance, and the progress of ongoing associated works

 

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 Property Compliance and Risk Manager.

 

The Head of Housing Maintenance and Assets said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The low compliance on electrical certification was in part due to the change in time frames, the council had been working on a 10-year programme and had recently changed to a 5-year programme. There had also been considerable issues gaining access to properties which had been detailed in previous reports. Officers were looking to overcome access issues by combining gas and electrical checks as the council achieved better access to properties through gas servicing checks.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendation.

 

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

No conflicts of interest were declared by the Executive Councillor.

Lead officer: Lynn Thomas


11/01/2022 - Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document ref: 5321    For Determination

To agreed the adoption of the Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document as amended.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning and Infrastructure

Decision published: 04/05/2022

Effective from: 11/01/2022

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report recommended that the Biodiversity Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) as amended was adopted, to be used as a material consideration in planning decisions supporting implementation of the adopted Local Plan.

 

Decision of the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport.

  i.  Considered the main issues raised in the public consultation, agreed responses to the representations received and agreed proposed changes to the SPD as set out in the Statement of Consultation (appendix 1 of the Officer’s report).

  ii.  Agreed the adoption the amended Greater Cambridge Biodiversity SPD (appendix 2 of the Officer’s report).

  iii.  Agreed to delegate to the Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development, in consultation with the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport, the Chair and Opposition Spokes for the Planning Policy and Transport Scrutiny Committee, the authority to make any necessary editing changes to the SPD prior to publication.

 

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 Natural Environment Team Leader.

 

In response to comments made by the Committee, the Natural Environment Team Leader, Nature Conservation Projects Officer, Principal Planning Officer and the Joint Director for Planning and Economic Development said the following:

  i.  Noted the Committee’s positive comments on the statutory 10% and the aspiration of 20% biodiversity.

  ii.  Suggested the SPD could be reviewed at the point of adoption of the new Local Plan; if additional guidance on biodiversity net gain was required at this point this would be an option to explore.

  iii.  One of the challenges writing the SPD had been the changes in national legislation and guidance as the document developed.  These changes would continue to evolve over time; therefore, it was important to note these changes and determine if reassessment would be required as and when. 

  iv.  Confirmed that when scrutinising applications against policy on both large and small sites that biodiversity was being achieved and documented.

  v.  Started to reference best practice with the appropriate links throughout the SPD, however, it was not possible to provide the whole spectrum of solutions that officers advised on individual applications. This would have also increased the length of the SPD; some feedback received during the consultation process was that the document was too lengthy.

  vi.  There was an intention to show best practice on the relevant pages of the city council website rather than in the SPD which meant these pages could be updated regularly.

  vii.  Developments that successfully met the statutory biodiversity had done so with collective conversations with officers and support of the council. As this continued it would be likely the additional ambition of biodiversity would be taken forward.

  viii.  With regard to S106 and offsetting, officers were investigating the possibility of offsite biodiversity net gain where it was not possible to meet onsite biodiversity.

  ix.  The emerging Local Plan was an opportunity to develop and assist with infrastructure contributions towards the delivery of green infrastructure and biodiversity net gain.

  i.  Noted the comment it was important to acknowledge the harm of biodiversity and habitat located on the perimeter of a development site; work should be undertaken through survey data and written into policy the protection of those areas so developers could not build on the boundaries.

  ii.  Officers were working with other local authorities to develop best practice for long term biodiversity through clear extended ownership and cohesive planning.

  iii.  Currently there was little guidance from Central Government on long term biodiversity.

  iv.  It was critical going forward that monitoring for sustainable quality biodiversity was in place; this would emerge from national legislation which the department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) were assembling.  The balance of onsite and offsite biodiversity was complex and was not without challenges.

  v.  There was best practice on biodiversity net gain (the principles could be used when looking at offsite provision) one of which was on good governance, this could be used as an interim while waiting for further Government guidance.

  vi.  There was no reason why the SPD could not be used as a guide to determine if enforcement action should be taken.

  vii.  Noted the request for a report on the progress of policies and long-term net gain term biodiversity.

 

The Committee

The Committee unanimously endorsed the Officers recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport 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.