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Decisions published

25/06/2019 - Annual Report of 3C Building Control Service & Planning Shared Service 2018/19 ref: 5029    Recommendations Approved

The annual report looking back at the service during 2018/19 is submitted for approval by Exec Cllr.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces

Decision published: 04/10/2019

Effective from: 25/06/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

  i.  The report summarised the performance of the 3Cs Building Control Shared Service and the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Service during 2018/19.

 

  ii.  The principle of producing a single annual report for both the 3Cs and Greater Cambridge (2Cs) shared services was agreed at committee in July 2015.

 

  iii.  The overarching Annual Report for the 3Cs Shared Services, submitted to South Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire District Council Committees for scrutiny, includes ICT, Legal and Building Control Shared Services. At the City Council, only the Building Control service falls under the remit of this Committee, and therefore the annual report is extracted from the overarching report and enclosed below.

 

  iv.  Greater Cambridge Shared Services Annual Report covers the Waste, Planning and Internal Audit services, and is submitted to the South Cambridgeshire District Council Committee for scrutiny, but at the City Council only the Planning Shared Service falls under this Committee’s remit and therefore the service report had been extracted and was included below.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces

 

  i.  Noted the content of the 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 received a report from the Head of Building Control.

 

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

  i.  Stated that the service could be seen as a success story.

  ii.  Welcomed initiates being investigated to make roles within the service more attractive and to aid staff recruitment and retention. 

 

The Head of Building Control stated the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The surplus in the budget was the result of improvement in the fee earning stream for this year and resulted in an increase in deferred income.

  ii.  Clarified what the Building Control Services Key Performance Indicator’s covered. These included the following: national targets, response times, determination targets, customer satisfaction and commercially sensitive targets.

 

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: Fiona Bryant, Heather Jones


25/06/2019 - 2019 S106 Priority-Setting (Play Areas and Open Spaces) ref: 5028    Recommendations Approved

Following the recent call for proposals for the 2019 S106 funding round, to assess which proposals received for improving play areas and open spaces meet the S106 selection criteria and to identify which ones should be allocated funding (subject to appropriate conditions) from the relevant S106 contributions available.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces

Decision published: 04/10/2019

Effective from: 25/06/2019

Decision:

Public Speakers

Catherine Rowland and Linda Frost addressed the Committee in support of the Consort Way play area boundary fencing and made the following comments:

 

·  Spine Road traffic was fast moving.

·  An unfenced play area left children vulnerable to moving vehicles.

·  Signage in the area was inadequate and did not prevent dogs or cyclists from using the area.

·  Older children use the play area to play football.

·  30mph signs had recently been erected in the area and local people were current engaged in getting this reduced to 20mph.

·  Fencing was needed urgently to prevent an accident.

 

Executive Councillor Response:

 

Councillor Thornburrow thanked the speakers for their comments and undertook to ask the County Council for their comments. She would also ask officers to consider this item as a priority.

 

Matter for Decision

The Council uses S106 contributions paid by developers to mitigate the impact of developments on facilities and amenities in Cambridge. In line with the arrangements agreed by the Executive Councillor in March 2019, the Council had invited proposals for improving play areas and open spaces within the city as part of its 2019 S106 funding round. Thirty applications had been received and assessed against the S106 selection criteria. The report summarised those applications and assessments and made 17 recommendations for S106 funding.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces

 

Resolved:

  i.  to allocate S106 funding to the following projects, subject to business case approval (see Section 4 and Appendix A of the Officers report for project details).

 

 

 

S106 funding types

 

Project

Play provision

Informal open space

N01

Logan’s Meadow: provide more benches and bins

-

£7.5k

N02

Bramblefields local nature reserve: more planting

-

£7.5k

N05

Arbury Court play area improvements (landscaping & equipment)

£15k

£15k

N07

Jubilee Gardens: improved access, landscaping, planting and seating

-

£40k

N08

Chestnut Grove Play Area: benches and bins

-

£7.5k

E07

Robert May Close play area: new play equipment and the replacement of two park benches

£5k

£35k

S01

Cherry Hinton Hall play area improvements: including accessible play equipment, plus landscaping

£90k

£60k

S02

Holbrook Road play area improvements (additional equipment and extra bench)

£46k

£1k

S03

Nightingale Avenue Rec Ground: new all-weather footpath between car park and community garden

-

£15k

S05

Consort Way play area (Trumpington Meadows): boundary fencing

-

£30k

WC1

Jesus Green ditch: landscaping and biodiversity improvements

-

£53k

WC2

Jesus Green: new wildflower meadow

-

£18k

WC3

Jesus Green: ecological/ educational space

-

£7k

WC4

Jesus Green barbecue area (and associated signage) plus drinking water fountain

-

£12.5k

WC5

Midsummer Common Community Orchard: drinking water fountain

 

-

£2.5k

WC6

Sheep’s Green local nature reserve: biodiversity bank improvements at Mill Pond

-

£22k

X01

Biodiversity enhancements (e.g. ‘Bee banks’) at parks in in East Chesterton, Coleridge, Trumpington & Market

-

£5k

E01

Thorpe Way Rec Ground: new footpath

 

£15k

S04

Nightingale Avenue Rec community garden: accessible polytunnel

 

£1.5k

 

 

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 Development Manager.

 

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

  i.  The needs of elderly residents would be considered when benches were installed in Logan’s Meadow and other sites and benches with arms would be used where possible.

  ii.  Wheelchair user’s needs would be taken into account when drinking water facilities were installed.

  iii.  The budget allocation for the water fountain included wider costs such as officer time and any consultation work needed.

  iv.  Confirmed that lighting costs had been removed from a number of projects as S106 funding could only be used for capital cost and not on-going maintenance or utilities charges. This could be reconsidered at a later date for other funding sources.

  v.  Requests for litter bins that had been unsuccessful could be directed to alternative funding streams such as the next round of Environmental Improvement Projects.

  vi.  Confirmed that the definition of Informal Open Spaces for S106 purposes related to soft landscaping. Public Realm funding might be available for hard surfaces areas.

 vii.  Confirmed that the S106 pot was diminishing and that officers were endeavouring to make the most positive contribution with the reduced funds.

 

Members were disappointed that the £50,000 Informal Open Spaces funding for Chesterton Recreation Ground was being withdrawn. Officer’s confirmed that the funding for this project was not time sensitive and suggested deleting this recommendation to allow further consultation work to be completed.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to delete recommendation (i)

De-allocate £50,000 of informal open space S106 funding for previously prioritised project for a skate park at Chesterton Recreation Ground (see paragraph 3.9);

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the recommendation (ii):

to allocate S106 funding to the following projects, subject to business case approval (see Section 4 and Appendix A of the Officers report for project details).

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: Alistair Wilson


25/06/2019 - Statement of Community Involvement ref: 5027    Recommendations Approved

The report seeks approval for the joint Greater Cambridge Shared Planning Statement of Community Involvement to be adopted by the Council.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces

Decision published: 04/10/2019

Effective from: 25/06/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

  i.  The report presented the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) for adoption following the conclusion of public consultation. The Town and Country Planning (Local Planning) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2017, state that LPAs in England must review their SCI every five years to ensure it is up to date and reflects current legislation and best practice. The SCI has been prepared to ensure that the LPAs are in accordance with this regulatory requirement.

 

  ii.  In the context of the Greater Cambridge area, the new SCI sets out how Cambridge City Council and South Cambridgeshire District Councils as part of the Greater Cambridge Shared Planning service will consult on planning policy documents and planning applications, ensuring that the two councils are consistent in their approach to engagement with local communities. The SCI would replace the adopted SCI of Cambridge City Council (2013) and South Cambridgeshire District Council (2010).

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces

 

  i.  Resolved to adopt the Statement of Community Involvement (2019) for Greater Cambridge, prepared jointly with South Cambridgeshire District Council.

 

  ii.  Agreed that the Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development is granted delegated authority, in liaison with the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces, and the Chair and Spokes for the Planning Policy and Transport Scrutiny Committee, to make any editing changes 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 Senior Planning Policy Officer.

 

In response to the report, councillors commented that more clarity was needed regarding Section 2.2 of the document. The public needed to understand the engagement process. The Senior Planning Policy Officer undertook to discuss this further with the Executive Councillor outside the meeting.

 

Councillor Green suggested that Cambridge University had offered to provide training and support to members of the public on how best to engage with the planning process.

 

The Senior Planning Policy Officer said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  Confirmed that this Committee had seen an earlier draft of the document and suggested that it would be difficult to make anything more than minor changes as this would require further consultation.

  ii.  Confirmed that the statement regarding Councillor call-in of a planning application had been kept at a high level as this was a joint policy and engagement details varied across the authorities.

  iii.  Agreed to add links to the document to direct the public to further information on engagement.

  iv.  Confirmed that a commitment had been made to simplify the planning idox system as members of the public had found it confusing.

 

Councillors sought clarification regarding the area of public notification of planning application and questioned how proposed savings would be achieved. Members sought an assurance that there was no intention to reduce existing service levels regarding public notification. Officers undertook to circulate full details of notification areas outside the meeting.

 

The Committee resolved by 5 votes to 1 and 2 abstentions 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: Caroline Hunt


25/06/2019 - Greater Cambridge Sustainable Design and Construction Supplementary Planning Document – Draft Document for Consultation ref: 5026    Recommendations Approved

To approve the draft Greater Cambridge Sustainable Design and Construction SPD and to agree that it be made available for public consultation.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces

Decision published: 04/10/2019

Effective from: 25/06/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

  i.  The report presented the draft Greater Cambridge Sustainable Design and Construction Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) for consultation purposes.  The SPD was being prepared to provide guidance on the implementation of policies related to climate change and sustainable design and construction within the adopted Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire Local Plans in order to support the Greater Cambridge growth agenda and delivery of sustainable development. 

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces

 

Resolved:

 

  i.  To agree the draft Greater Cambridge Sustainable Design and Construction SPD (attached at Appendix 1 to the Officer’s report)  for consultation purposes;

  ii.  that the consultation period will take place between Monday 15 July and Monday 23 September 2019;

 iii.  that the Joint Director of Planning and Economic

Development be granted delegated authority, in liaison with the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces, and the Chair and Spokes for the Planning Policy and Transport Scrutiny Committee, to make any editing changes to the draft SPD and supporting documents prior to publication and to agree the Statement and Consultation and draft Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) and draft Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA) Screenings Reports for consultation alongside the draft SPD, including with the three statutory bodies.

 

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 Sustainability Officer.

 

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

  i.  Members expressed regret that national policy frustrated local ambition to deliver higher standards of sustainable development.

  ii.  Suggested that the consultation documents should be sent to local voluntary groups including Camsight.

 

The Senior Sustainability Officers stated the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The report would return to this Committee in January for adoption following the consultation period.

  ii.  The introduction to the document addresses the integration of sustainability considerations into the design of new developments from the outset, with reference to the RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) works plan.

  iii.  The SPD concentrates on the built environment with wider environmental concerns being addressed elsewhere.

  iv.  Policy 30 would not apply to extensions built under permitted development rights. However, there was a possibility that this could be covered under building regulations at a future date.

  v.  A ‘Forword’ would be added to the document at a later stage and this would set out the Council’s ambition to encourage exemplar applications.

  vi.  Confirmed that the document would add weight to the Local Plan and would influence the next Local Plan.

 vii.  The proposals had been subjected to viability assessments. However, it was acknowledged that these might be challenged by developers.

viii.  Confirmed that Equality Impact Assessments had been included in the documentation.

  ix.  Suggested that the document would not be considered a material consideration until formally adopted but that it would gain weight to decision making process the nearer it came to adoption.

 

The Planning Policy Manager stated the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The SPD would supplement the adopted Local Plan which includes a wider commitment to sustainability in future joint Local Plans.

 

Councillor Hipkin stated that he felt that the discussion on this very important document had been cut short and that he had not been able to ask all of his questions.  The Chair stated that he had not seen the Councillor indicate his wish to speak and invited him to ask his final questions before moving to the vote.

 

Councillor Hipkin stated the following:

  i.  Enforcement would be problematic given staffing constraints.

  ii.  Asked if the environmental standards delivered on the University development at Eddington could be required elsewhere.

  iii.  Suggested that the Council, in its role as a developer, should be exemplar and should deliver to the same standard as that achieved by the University.

 

The Senior Sustainability Officers responded. Requirements for Eddington had been based on a national policy document that was no longer available. The Planning Inspector had removed some of the more challenging standards from the Local Plan.

 

The Strategic Director accepted that Eddington was an outstanding scheme but stated that due to the very high costs, it was not accessible to many people. The Council needed to deliver viable accommodation for local people.

 

The Executive Councillor thanked the Committee for their thorough debate on this item which would be relevant to the next Local Plan.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved to endorse the amended 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: Emma Davies


25/06/2019 - 2018/19 General Fund Revenue and Capital Outturn, Carry Forwards and Significant Variances - P&T ref: 5025    Recommendations Approved

(i) Recommend to Council to approve carry forward requests for revenue funding from 2018/19 to 2019/20, if appropriate, as detailed in report appendix.
(ii) Recommend to Council to approve capital funding rephasing from 2018/19 to 2019/20, where relevant, as detailed in report appendix.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces

Decision published: 04/10/2019

Effective from: 25/06/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

 

The report presented, for the Planning Policy & Transport Portfolio:

 

  i.  A summary of actual income and expenditure compared to the final budget for 2018/19 (outturn position)

 

  ii.  Revenue and capital budget variances with explanations

 

  iii.  Specific requests to carry forward funding available from budget underspends into 2019/20.

 

The report was for the 2018/19 outturn the services that were included in the Planning Policy & Transport Portfolio prior to the current year committee restructure was detailed.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces

 

Resolved: To agree to request that the Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources, at the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee on 1 July 2019, approved the following:

 

  i.  Carry forward requests of £995k capital resources from 2018/19 to 2019/20 to fund rephased net capital spending, as detailed in Appendix D of the Officers 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 received a report from the Caroline Ryba, Head of Finance.

 

In response to the report Councillors commented that the figures provided did not allow members to judge how the Parking Service was performing. Variances appeared to be high against the forecast. The Strategic Director undertook to address this outside the meeting.

 

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

  i.  Suggested that the Taxi Card Scheme and other transport subsidies should be promoted more widely.

  ii.  Stated that the Planning Service was under stress which in turn placed additional stress on the scrutiny and decision process.

 

The Strategic Director, the Head of Finance and the Greater Cambridge Planning Service Planning Policy Manager responded to Members’ questions as follows:

  i.  Agreed that it was disappointing that little progress had been made on the Cycleways projects (100019-PV007). Delivery of the project was dependent on the County Council delivering element of the scheme. Noted Members support for this budget item and its retention in the budget.

  ii.  Confirmed that only half the Taxi Card budget had been allocated and suggested that as a demand led service, accurate forecasting was difficult. The service was under review and caution was needed with any additional promotion.

  iii.  Confirmed that work was on-going to improve the income shortfall, income pattern and the shared service profile.

  iv.  Suggested that recruitment difficulties were a national problem and confirmed that a range of options were under consideration, such as, development of existing staff and apprentices.

  v.  Agreed that losing staff to the private sector was an on-going problem for the service.

 

Councillor Bick stated that it was regrettable that the Executive Councillor for Transport and Community Safety had not been in attendance to hear the debate on transport related issues.

 

The Committee resolved by 8 votes to 0 and 1 abstention 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: Chris Humphris


18/06/2019 - Compulsory Purchase of Long-term Empty Property ref: 5024    Recommendations Approved

- Approval to pursue compulsory purchase of long term empty property in a residential area of Cambridge City, in line with Empty Homes Policy.
- Approve provision of funding for purchase either through compulsory purchase or voluntary sale which will be recovered through the subsequent sale of the property.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 04/10/2019

Effective from: 18/06/2019

Decision:

The Housing Scrutiny Committee undertook a public interest test and resolved by 4 votes to 3 to exclude members of the public from the meeting on the grounds that, if they were present, there would be disclosure to them of information defined as exempt from publication by virtue of paragraphs 1 & 2 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Matter for Decision

 

The report outlined a long term empty property which had been unoccupied for 6 months or more and as such further action by the Council was required to bring it back into use.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

 

i.  Approved the Compulsory Purchase powers pursuant to Section 17 of the Housing Act 1985 in respect of in respect of the empty property referenced in the officer’s report, in order to acquire the property and bring it back into residential use.

ii.  Authorised proceedings to make a Compulsory Purchase Order and officers are instructed to take all necessary action to implement the resolution.

iii.  Approved the capital funding as outlined in section 4 (Financial Implications) of the officer’s report is made available in respect of the acquisition and associated costs which will be recovered through the sale of the property.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

The Committee received a report from the Empty Homes Officer.

 

The Committee welcomed the report.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved 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: Simonetta Macellari


18/06/2019 - Update on the Programme to Build New Council Homes Funded Through the Combined Authority ref: 5023    Recommendations Approved

No decision - review of progress on previously agreed 500 homes programme.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 04/10/2019

Effective from: 18/06/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report provided an update on the programme to deliver 500

Council homes with funding from the Combined Authority.

 

Decision of the Executive Councillor for Housing

 

  i.  Noted the continued progress on the delivery of the Combined Authority programme.

  ii.  Noted the funding structure for the Combined Authority programme.

 

Any Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

Not applicable.

 

Scrutiny Considerations

 

The Committee received a report from the Head of Housing Development Agency.

 

In response to questions and comments from the Committee the Strategic Director and Head of Housing Development said the following:

 

  i.  The Council had its own sustainability housing standard which all dwellings across the housing programme met or exceeded.

  ii.  The Council’s standard surpassed the national sustainability requirements.

  iii.  Each development was treated differently regarding sustainability, as each site had different constraints and requirements. 

  iv.  The Mill Road development had a 19% improvement on the sustainability building regulations. This was due to certain factors such as a fabric first approach, solar panels, heat and power systems which would reduce admissions significantly.

  v.  Electric vehicle charging points would be installed on certain developments.

  vi.  Stopping the use of fossil fuels on a development would be a long term project for officers to investigate.

 vii.   Passive house standards was impacted by the site constrained as well as type of homes built.

viii.  It was not currently possible to deliver a passive house standard on higher level apartments.

  ix.  Reiterated the Councils build programme had been designed to meet a high level of sustainability.

  x.  The consultation process on the Meadows and Buchan Street development had been voluntary. This was in advance of the statutory consultation process which would follow.

  xi.  Over three thousand leaflets had been distributed to advertise the Meadows and Bucham Street public consultation. Posters had been displayed throughout the area and advertised online. The exhibition finished at 9.00pm for people to attend after work.

 xii.  A follow up meeting was then arranged to discuss concerns raised at the exhibition which covered the loss of open space.

xiii.  In respect of the Cromwell Road development the plans put forward had been for 295 houses, which was above the Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) proposal of 225 houses. The profit margin was lower for the council’s joint venture partner compared to what they would have received developing the site themselves.

xiv.  Had listened to public consultation on the Meadows and Bucham Scheme. Officers were currently working with architects on how to enhance the public open space; therefore no clear response could have been given to the public speaker. The public consultation was still open on this matter.

xv.  The demand for housing in the area which the Meadows and Bucham Street stood was one of the highest in the city.

xvi.  The relationship with the Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP) was 50/50 joint venture but set up as an independent company. All of the accounting was by open book and had audited accounts

The Committee resolved by 5 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: Claire Flowers


18/06/2019 - New Build Housing - Campkin Road ref: 5021    Recommendations Approved

Request for budget to develop a new housing scheme at Campkin Road - indicative outturn 70 Council Homes.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 04/10/2019

Effective from: 18/06/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report referred to the devolution deal with Central Government and sought approval for a capital budget for the scheme based on

the indicative capacity study which had been undertaken for the site and the outlined appraisals referenced in the Officer’s report and for the delivery route to be adopted.  

 

Decision of the Executive Councillor for Housing

 

  i.  Approved the scheme in principle, recommending to Council, the inclusion of an indicative capital budget for the scheme of £15,964,921 in the Housing Capital Investment Plan, to cover all of the site assembly, construction costs, professional fees and associated other fees to deliver a scheme that meets an identified housing need in Cambridge City.

  ii.  Approved that, subject to Council approval of the budget,  delegated authority be given to the Exec Cllr for Housing in conjunction with the Strategic Director to enable the site to be developed through Cambridge Investment Partnership (CIP) subject to a value for money assessment to be carried out on behalf of the Council.

  iii.  Authorised, subject to Council approval of the budget, the Strategic Director in consultation with the Executive Councillor for housing to approve variations to the scheme including the number of units and mix of property types and sizes outlined in this report.

  iv.  Approved the use of the updated Council Home Loss Policy attached as Appendix 3 of the Officer’s report.

  v.  Delegated authority, subject to Council approval of the budget, to the Strategic Director to commence Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) proceedings on Leasehold properties to be demolished to enable the development should these be required.

  vi.  Delegated authority to the Strategic Director to serve initial Demolition Notices under the Housing Act 1985.

 

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 Development Manager Housing.

 

In response to comments and questions from the Committee the Senior Development Manager Housing said the following:

 

  i.  Did not have the percentage figures for the area of land the site was to be built on.

  ii.  The form of the development had been set by the need to keep the line of trees which ran along Campkin Road.

  iii.  Acknowledged there had been previous problems with shared ownership tenures concerning the letting and selling of these properties. The Committee had previously discussed these issues and possible solutions such as changes to the tenure to reintroduce as homes for rent.

  iv.  The scheme was for all council rented homes.

  v.  There was currently no shared ownership in this scheme.

  vi.  The key factor was to deliver rented affordable housing in the city.

 vii.  Was aware that parking in the area was difficult. The scheme’s proposal was a ratio of 0.65 parking spaces to each dwelling.

viii.  Did not believe the development had a major impact on the availability of open spaces; the most significant aspect of the open space was the line of trees earlier referenced.

  ix.  In line with planning policy 5% of the dwellings would be wheel chair adapted.

  x.  Through the Climate Change Strategy and action plan the Council were due to go to tender to install electric charging points across the council car parks. The electric charging points would also be addressed through the Council’s individual planning applications.

  xi.  Tenants affected by the development would be given emergency housing status. They would also be permitted to move back but this would be at a higher rental rate. However there would a range of compensation packages for a loss of their homes in the first instance and for those tenants who were under occupied would have the option to downsize.

 

The Executive Councillor informed the Committee the unsold shared ownership units on the Virido development had been approved by Homes England to be turned into Council rented accommodation. Approval from Planning was required to finalise this.

 

The Committee resolved by 5 votes to 0 to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

Lead officer: Mark Wilson


18/06/2019 - 2018/19 General Fund Revenue and Capital Outturn, Carry Forwards and Significant Variances - Housing ref: 5020    Recommendations Approved

(i) Recommend to Council to approve carry forward requests for revenue funding from 2018/19 to 2019/20, if appropriate, as detailed in a separate appendix

(ii) Recommend to Council to approve capital funding rephasing from 2018/19 to 2019/20, where relevant, as detailed in a separate appendix

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 04/10/2019

Effective from: 18/06/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The report presented, for the General Fund Housing portfolio.

 

i. A summary of actual income and expenditure compared to the final budget for 2018/19 (outturn position)

ii. Revenue and capital budget variances with explanations

iii. Specific requests to carry forward funding available from budget underspends into 2019/20.

 

Members of the Scrutiny Committee were asked to consider and make known their views on the proposals for consideration by the Executive Councillor for Finance and Resources at the Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee on 1 July 2019.  

 

Decision of the Executive Councillor for Housing

 

  i.  Approved carry forward requests of revenue funding from 2018/19 to 2019/20, as detailed in Appendix C of the Officer’s report, noting that none were proposed for this portfolio on this occasion.

  ii.  Approved carry forward requests of £200,000 in capital resources from 2018/19 to 2019/20 to fund re-phased net capital spending, as detailed in Appendix D of 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 received a report from the Assistant Head of Finance / Business Manager.

 

The Committee were advised this would be the last year that individual reports were produced for each portfolio for presentation to the relevant scrutiny committee. In line with the revised budget scrutiny process followed for the 2019/20 budget, one combined 2019/20 General Fund outturn report covering all portfolios would be produced for scrutiny at Strategy and Resources Scrutiny Committee.

The Committee resolved by 5 votes to 0 to endorse the recommendations.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

Lead officer: Chris Humphris


18/06/2019 - 2018/19 Housing Revenue Account Revenue and Capital Outturn, Carry Forwards and Significant Variances ref: 5019    Recommendations Approved

(i) Recommend to Council to approve carry forward requests for revenue funding from 2018/19 to 2019/20, if appropriate, as detailed in report appendix.
(ii) Recommend to Council to approve capital funding rephasing from 2018/19 to 2019/20, where relevant, as detailed in report appendix.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 04/10/2019

Effective from: 18/06/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

 

The report presented, for the Housing Revenue Account:

i.    A summary of actual income and expenditure compared to the final budget for 2018/19 (outturn position)

ii.   Revenue and capital budget variances with explanations

iii.  Specific requests to carry forward funding available from budget underspends into 2019/20.

iv.   A summary of housing debt which was written off during 2018/19.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Housing

i.  Approved carry forward requests totalling £772,500 in revenue funding from 2018/19 into 2019/20, as detailed in Appendix C of the Officer’s report (Part 1 of the recommendation)

ii.  Approved carry forward requests of £5,256,000 in HRA and General Fund Housing capital budgets and associated resources from 2018/19 into 2019/20 to fund re-phased net capital spending, as detailed in Appendix D and the associated notes to the appendix of the Officer’s report is recommended to Council (Part 2 of the recommendation)

 

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 / Business Manager.

 

The Assistant Head of Finance / Business Manager informed Members that officers will be bringing the revised housing revenue business plan to Committee in September including an updated Assessment Management plan.

 

However the outturn figures which had been reported at this meeting had raised concern, areas highlighted were repairs spending, the over reliance of the external contractors and increased costs.

 

The Head of Housing Maintenance and Assets conformed that investigation work had started immediately on revenue, repairs and voids. Officers needed to ensure the service was being managed well financially and operationally. An external consultant would be used to provide additional capacity to assist with these reviews and would be reported to the Housing Scrutiny Committee once completed.

 

In response the Strategic Director, Head of Housing Maintenance and Assets and the Assistant Head of Finance / Business Manager stated the following in response to Members’ questions:

 

  i.  Noted the concerns regarding the underspend in the Decent Homes Programme; to deliver the programme was dependent  on a number of factors, such as having planned maintenance contractors in place and the workforce to survey the work and place the task orders. There had also been some tenant refusals.

  ii.  Issues with staff shortages in the Technical Services team had meant the complete programme had not been delivered as not all surveys and orders could be not undertaken. Had recruited to some of the vacant posts.

  iii.  Acknowledged the comment there were trained resident inspectors who could inspect void properties and make recommendations.

  iv.  Agreed the maintenance of Council homes was important and staff were committed to make sure the standards were met.

  v.  Could not comment on a particular complaint raised in Committee but the emergency  had been dealt with promptly and had been in touch with the complainant and apologised for the length of time they were waiting for the work to be made good. 

  vi.  This complaint and others had highlighted that some of the Council’s processes were not as good as they should have been; processes required modernising and improvement which was why the review had been brought forward.

 vii.  The review would explore whether the quality of the housing stock was deteriorating due to the lack of investment.

viii.  The Assessment Management Plan would determine what detailed work was required to the Council’s housing stock.

  ix.  Significant funding had been taken out of housing maintenance and the delivery of housing services as a result of Government policy changes in 2016.

  x.  The new business plan would take into account investment in the Council’s own stock and the ability to provide new homes; the balance of investment would be something that the Committee would consider at a future meeting.

  xi.  The review would also examine if the organisational structure was fit for purpose

 xii.  Planned to build stronger services which would be more responsive to repairs.

xiii.  A new housing management system had been purchased which would improve the business processes and reporting processes and trends would easily be identified.

xiv.  The review would consider whether any rental surplus in the Housing Revenue Account should be used for investment in new homes be set aside to redeem debt.

xv.  Any major variances of over £20,000 were recorded and reported. The column showing ‘other’ would be the total of all the other cost centres where there were small variances.

xvi.  One in fourteen Council tenants had transitioned touniversal credit.

xvii.  The Disabled Facilities Grant came from Government and used in the private sector not for disabled adaptations in the Council’s housing stock. As it was a Government grant this had to be requested to be carried forward to use in 2019/20.

xviii.  The new housing management system will allow residents to access their accounts online.

xix.  Welcomed the suggestion of a resident online annual review; officers would work with the Resident Engagement Officer to look at the best ways that residents could provide feedback.

 

The Committee resolved by 8 votes to 0 to endorse part 1 of the recommendation

 

The Committee resolved by 5 votes to 0 to endorse part 2 of the recommendation.

 

The Executive Councillor approved the recommendations.

Lead officer: Julia Hovells


18/06/2019 - The Homelessness Reduction Act – 12 Month Review ref: 5022    Recommendations Approved

To approve the review document and recommendations contained therein for permanent funding of additional staff taken on to meet the additional demands of the Act.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Housing

Decision published: 04/10/2019

Effective from: 18/06/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

The reported referred to The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 (‘the Act’), came into effect on 3 April 2018.  The Act placed major new duties on authorities to relieve or prevent homelessness. 

 

Decision of the Executive Councillor for Housing

 

  i.  Noted the contents of the report and endorsed the approach the Council had taken as described in the appendix of the officer’s report in relation to applying its new powers.

 

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 Housing which outlined The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 and the key aspects of the new act.

 

In response to questions and comments from the Committee the Head of Housing said the following:

 

  i.  With regards to the hidden homeless, intelligence was gained from housing forms submitted to the Council. Applicants would indicate if they were sofa surfing, moving between properties, or if they had a bedroom of their own in the accommodation where they were staying.

  ii.  Officers would follow up with those individuals if there was sufficient concern of an imminent threat of homelessness.

  iii.  There had been 212 referrals in six months under the duty to refer from statutory bodies (such as the prison services) to the Council.

  iv.  Under the homelessness partnership the council shared good practice with other local authorities.

  v.   

The Executive Councillor for Housing thanked the Head of Housing and his team for the work that they had undertaken dealing with the increase in caseloads. He also welcomed the Government’s decision to scrap the section 21 notice, the ‘no fault’ eviction issued to tenants from their landlords.

 

The Committee unanimously resolved 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: James McWilliams


02/10/2019 - Cambridge Local Plan: Towards 2031 - ADOPTION ref: 4964    Recommendations Approved

To recommend to Council that the Cambridge Local Plan: Towards 2031 is adopted. Supplementary Planning Documents that have been prepared in parallel with the new Local Plan will be adopted by the Executive Member after the Local Plan is adopted.

Decision Maker: Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Open Spaces

Decision published: 26/06/2019

Effective from: 02/10/2019

Decision:

Matter for Decision

 

  i.  The preparation of the new Cambridge Local Plan had now reached the end of the plan making process. The Inspectors’ Report had been received, and subject to incorporating the associated Main Modifications identified by the Inspectors, they conclude that the Local Plan was sound. The Local Plan may now be presented to Council to be adopted as part of the Development Plan.

 

  ii.  During the Examination process, the Council took the decision to move forward with the preparation of a number of site specific SPDs. This was a pragmatic response to the lengthy examination process, allowing further detail to be provided and assist with the implementation of specific proposals. As a result, seven SPDs had been prepared in parallel with the Cambridge Local Plan.

 

Decision of Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport

 

  i.  Noted the Inspectors’ Report containing the Inspectors’ Main Modifications to be made to the submitted Cambridge Local Plan in order for it to be found sound (Appendix 1 of the Officer’s report);

  ii.  Noted the schedule of Additional Modifications (Appendix 2 of the Officer’s report) to the submitted Cambridge Local Plan to make factual and typographical corrections; and

  iii.  Noted the Main Modifications to the submitted Policies Map published alongside the Inspectors’ Report as a reference document to the examination (Appendix 3 of the officer’s report);

  iv.  Recommend to Council that the Cambridge Local Plan 2018 including both Main and Additional Modifications was adopted (Appendix 4 of the Officer’s report); 

  v.  Recommend to Council that the Cambridge Policies Map 2018, including Main Modifications, be adopted (Appendix 5 of the Officer’s report); 

  vi.  Recommend to Council that it authorises the Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development for Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire, in consultation with the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport, and the Chair and Spokes for the Planning Policy and Transport Scrutiny Committee, to make minor typographical amendments or updates in preparing the final version of the Adopted Local Plan and Policies Map; and

 vii.  Noted that the seven Supplementary Planning Documents prepared in parallel with the Local Plan, and listed in Appendix 6 of the Officer’s report, would be approved by the Executive Councillor for Planning Policy and Transport following the adoption of the Local Plan.

 

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 Planning Policy Manager.

 

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

  i.  Sought clarification regarding the status of an SPD that was linked to the Local Plan.

  ii.  Praised the plan for respecting the integrity of the Green Belt.

 

The Planning Policy Manager and Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development said the following in response to Members’ questions:

  i.  The additional SPD’s would add weight and clarity to future planning decisions.

  iii.  Confirmed that the Combined Authority had questioned the predicted growth in jobs (Table 1 of the Officers report). The figures had been based on economic forecasts and had been tested by the Planning Inspector and found sound.

  ii.  Plans for specific areas, such as Mitcham’s Corner, would be linked to wider Greater Cambridgeshire Partnerships.

  iii.  The length of time taken to approve the plan had been unusual and comments on the experience would be feed back to the Inspector.

 

Councillor Hipkin expressed concerns that the predicted growth would be unsustainable without suitable infrastructure. The Cambridge and Peterborough Independent Economic Review had concluded that the growth of jobs in South Cambs would put additional strain on housing. In addition traffic congestion could become a brake on growth. A situation could arise where a good planning application had to be refused due to the impact on traffic. The situation was not helped by the number of bodies vising for power over transport decision and the lack of collaborative working and trust.

 

Joint Director of Planning and Economic Development stated that the plan was light on specific transport proposals as it had been prepared alongside the transport plan and part of the Cambridge Bid process. Transport barriers would be identified and looking ahead, ways to reconcile transport infrastructure with the delivery of growth site would be developed. An alignment of transport goals and growth capacity would follow looking forward to 2030. The Plan review process would allow for a re-examination of the figures.

 

The Committee resolved by 7 votes to 0 and one abstention 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: Sara Saunders