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Disclosures of Interest
To receive any disclosures of interest from councillors in accordance with the Council’s Code of Conduct for members.
There were none.
The following Cabinet decision has been called in by the requisite number of members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and in accordance with the Overview and Scrutiny procedure rules:
Exempt report - Transfer of properties from Spelthorne Borough Council to Knowle Green Estates Ltd.
The report and appendices that went to Cabinet on 24 March 2021 are attached and additional information is to follow.
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee may either:
(a) request the Leader, Cabinet or Cabinet Member to reconsider the matter for reasons to be put forward by the Committee in their request to reconsider; or
(b) decide that no further action be taken, in which case the decision of the Leader or Cabinet etc may be actioned without further consideration or delay.
The Deputy Chief Executive introduced the Call in response report and drew the Committees attention to the seven key points of clarification and the supplement containing a visual graphic of the themes the Committee may wish to discuss.
The Group Head of Corporate Governance, Housing Strategy and Policy Manager (Housing Options), Property and Development Manager (Asset Management), Asset Management Contractor (Asset Management) and Chief Accountant were also present to provide advice and responses to questions relating to their service areas.
In response to members questions the Housing Strategy and Policy Manager advised that the tenure split provided for was within the scope of the Council’s policy objective, as set out by the administration at the Extraordinary Council meeting on 21 January, of achieving at least 50% affordable housing as well as providing for key workers. He explained that the split set out at option d in the response report was appropriate, that it was important to ensure the right housing mix was achieved to create sustainable communities and that a key worker policy had been drafted and provided to the Committee to inform their debate.
In response to further questions the Housing Strategy and Policy Manager, stated Section 106 (S106) affordable housing provision varied and was dependent on the scheme. The Group Head of Corporate Governance confirmed that in addition to the S106 affordable housing the Council would have a nominations agreement with Knowle Green Estates (KGE).
A member queried when the levels of income and discount for key workers had been decided. The Housing Strategy and Policy Manager stated that it had been set for quite some time and the Deputy Chief Executive confirmed this.
In response to members questions on the basis of property valuations, the Asset Management Contractor explained that land is valued on its existing use rather than the development land value but that assets deal with real time costs.
Members noted the Council would make a nominal saving on its homelessness budget where affordable units are filled by tenants from the Council’s housing register but expressed the view that potential private rental tenants may not want to live in the same development. In response the Housing Strategy and Policy Manager advised that the Council was trying to achieve balanced and sustainable communities but may need to review its approach in future.
In response to a member’s question the Asset Management Contractor explained that each scheme went through extensive consultation with planning officers to ensure they were policy compliant prior to being presented to the Planning Committee for determination.
A member expressed concern that the depreciation list at paragraph 3.22 of the response report appeared to be generous and a one-off incident or accident could see items destroyed. The Property and Development Manager informed the Committee that the Council has a good property management resource in place with warranties on items and had made provision in the costs to cover such incidents.
In response to further questions the Property and Development Manager explained that he was ... view the full minutes text for item 99/21