Agenda and minutes

Executive
Wednesday, 20th March 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, City Hall

Contact: Graham Watts, Democratic Team Leader and Elections Manager  (01522 873439)

Items
No. Item

121.

Declarations of Interest

Please note that, in accordance with the Members' Code of Conduct, when declaring interests members must disclose the existence and nature of the interest, and whether it is a disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) or personal and/or pecuniary.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received.

122.

Exclusion of the Press and Public pdf icon PDF 37 KB

You are asked to resolve that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the consideration of the following items because it is likely that if members of the press or public were present, there would be disclosure to them of 'exempt information'.

In accordance with the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012, notice is hereby given of items which will be considered in private, for which either 28 days' notice has been given or approval has been granted by the appropriate person specified in the Regulations. For further details please visit our website at http://www.lincoln.gov.uk or contact Democratic Services at City Hall, Beaumont Fee, Lincoln.

 

Items 3 and 4 are being considered in private as they are likely to disclose exempt information, as defined in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. No representations have been received in relation to the proposal to consider these items in private.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business because it was likely that if members of the public were present there would be a disclosure to them of ‘exempt information’ as defined by Section 100I and Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

The items at minute numbers 123 and 124 were considered in private as they were likely to disclose exempt information, as defined in Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972. No representations had been received in relation to the proposal to consider these items in private.

123.

Western Growth Corridor Land Appropriations

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To provide the Executive with an opportunity to consider the appropriation of land between the Council’s General Fund and Housing Revenue Account in order to facilitate the proposed Western Growth Corridor and new build housing development.

 

Decision

 

That the recommendations contained within the report be approved.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The Council’s new build housing programme was predicated by land availability in the city.

 

The appropriation proposal, as set out in the report, would facilitate additional affordable housing in the city and see the sites transfer to the Housing Revenue Account at market value, subject to the payment of any balance. It was a requirement of the grant funding associated with the proposal that the land held for the Western Growth Corridor development was held in the Council’s General Fund.

 

124.

Western Growth Corridor Scheme Delivery

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To provide the Executive with an opportunity to consider the commercially confidential and sensitive elements of the agreements required to enable and demonstrate to the Local Planning Authority that the City of Lincoln Council and the adjacent landowner could and want to proceed with delivery of the Western Growth Corridor, should planning consent be approved.

 

Decision

 

That the recommendations contained within the report be approved, subject to incorporation of the revised version of Appendix D.

 

Alternation Options Considered and Rejected

 

Other options explored were set out in paragraph 13.1 of the report. Throughout the development of the overall scheme a risk register had been in place and had evolved into a robust document that was reviewed on a regular basis. This document was appended to the report.

 

Reason for Decision

 

The report set out progress on the key documents and work required to take the Western Growth Corridor Scheme forward for delivery and to submit an outline planning application for the development. The key landowners document was the Delivery Agreement between the City of Lincoln Council and the adjacent landowners which had been negotiated by officers to meet both the key principles agreed by the Executive on 24 September 2018 and fair commercial terms. It also set out the key parameters for how the landowners would work together to bring forward the development, including governance, viability, procurement and a range of key clauses that protected the Council’s interests.

 

The report also outlined the work that had been undertaken on the Scheme Viability Assessment which demonstrated that so long as the Council did a significant proportion of the development itself or in the form of a joint venture then the scheme was viable to proceed. A review of the Council’s land ownership had been undertaken and, now that there was a fixed masterplan, a land equalisation process had been completed. As a result of the Scheme Viability Assessment work, it was proposed that the first 52 units on the Council’s land at Skellingthorpe Road be developed by the Council itself for market housing. Sufficient resources, supported by Homes England grant, were available to deliver these new homes with any surpluses being set aside to help fund future phases.

 

Further details on the following aspects of the scheme, as detailed below, were included in the report which the Strategic Director of Major Development took the Executive through:

 

·         progressing to delivery;

·         the Landowner Delivery Agreement, including the key principles for the Delivery Agreement agreed by the Executive on 28 September 2018;

·         the Scheme Viability Assessment;

·         Council land ownership;

·         phase 1a cost and delivery;

·         activity and costs up to planning determination;

·         timescales, including those subject to planning determination;

·         General Fund and Housing Revenue Account considerations.

 

A revised version of Appendix D to the report was circulated at the meeting, providing updated information and costings as at 20 March 2019.

 

Discussion ensued on the justification behind the impact on the Housing Revenue Account as a result of the proposals contained within this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 124.

125.

Western Growth Corridor - Planning Application Submission pdf icon PDF 329 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To provide the Executive with feedback on the final element of the development public consultation on the Western Growth Corridor Masterplan and further transport and flood mitigation work and to seek approval to submit the outline planning application for the Western Growth Corridor, based on the proposed Masterplan, with detailed applications for two of the three access junctions into the development.

 

Decision

 

(1)       That the feedback from the public consultation be received and support be given to the ongoing work to secure external funding to enable the spine road through the development connecting Skellingthorpe Road with a road bridge over the railway onto Tritton Road as early as possible, subject to planning consent being obtained.

 

(2)       That the submission of the Western Growth Corridor outline planning application with the two detailed applications for the access junctions at Skellingthorpe Road and Birchwood Avenue and Tritton Road be approved, with the final sign-off on the content of the planning submission being delegated to the Strategic Director of Major Development.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

This report on the planning application submission in respect of the Western Growth Corridor was the final of three reports on the proposed development, further to minute numbers 123 and 124 above.

 

The Western Growth Corridor was one of four sustainable urban extensions around Lincoln identified and promoted in the Central Lincolnshire Local Plan for development to meet the area’s growth projections up to 2036.

 

The City Council was a significant landowner, owning approximately 60% of the site included within the proposed Masterplan area, and had been leading on bringing forward development of the area in a viable, sustainable and deliverable way since 2016. The Western Growth Corridor was a key priority within the City Council’s Vision 2020, delivered across all of the Council’s priorities and objectives and was the single largest development area within the city boundary.

 

A number of documents, as follows, needed to be agreed in order to progress the Western Growth Corridor to the next phase which would steer and shape delivery of the scheme in terms of financials, timescales and objectives:

 

·         Landowner Delivery Agreement, inclusive of:

-       the Scheme Viability Assessment;

-       the Grants Strategy;

-       the Procurement Strategy;

-       the Design Code;

-       the Infrastructure Phasing Plan;

-       the Housing Delivery Phasing Plan.

·         the Scheme Viability Assessment from the Council;

·         Phase 1a Costs and Delivery.

 

The Delivery Agreement was the single key overarching legal document between the Council and Lindum Western Growth Community Ltd, as the other main landholder associated with the scheme, which would underpin delivery of the overall Western Growth Corridor scheme and included the elements highlighted at paragraph 3.3 of the report. The Delivery Agreement had been negotiated with Lindum Western Growth Community Ltd on the basis of the key principles agreed by the Executive on 24 September 2018 which had all been met. These were outlined in paragraph 3.4 of the report.

 

The Scheme Viability Assessment had been prepared by an  ...  view the full minutes text for item 125.

126.

Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee - Review of Local Community Impact of Welfare Reform pdf icon PDF 87 KB

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To provide the Executive with a report on the key findings and emerging recommendations following the Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee’s review into the local community impact of welfare reform.

 

Decision

 

That the Executive endorses the recommendations of the Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee following its review into the local community impact of welfare reform.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

Councillor Bob Bushell, Chair of the Community Leadership Scrutiny Committee, reported that as part of the Committee’s previous review into Inclusive Growth it had agreed to undertake a further review on the local community impact of welfare reform, focussing specifically on Universal Credit and housing.

 

The Committee met with a range of external representatives to gather necessary evidence as part of the review, from organisations including Citizen’s Advice, the Department for Work and Pensions, the Residential Landlord Association and the Member of Parliament for Lincoln’s office. The following City Council officers also provided the Committee with evidence as part of the review:

 

·         the Planning Manager;

·         the Assistant Director of Health and Environmental Services;

·         the Assistant Director of Housing Investment and Strategy;

·         the Head of the Revenues and Benefits Shared Service;

·         the Strategic Development Project Manager;

·         the Tenancy Services Manager.

 

Over the period of the scrutiny review, taking into account evidence gathered from key witnesses, the following emerging recommendations were identified by the Committee:

 

i)             That the Council, as part of the refresh of the City Centre Masterplan and associated work already underway, sought to increase the vibrancy of the city centre and undertook a review of empty commercial units, particularly units above shops, to ascertain whether there were any opportunities to convert them to residential use.

 

ii)            In view of the fact that the Welfare Advice Team, Universal Credit Team, Customer Services Team, Tenancy Services Team and Citizens Advice all currently worked independently to provide support to Universal Credit claimants and customers and in light of the national decision to withdraw funding from local authorities and reallocate this to Citizens Advice, that the Council undertook a comprehensive review of the areas within its service delivery that supported welfare advice to the city’s residents.

 

iii)           That the Council agree to lobby local and regional Department for Work and Pensions representatives to better understand why there continued to be a delay in the payment of Universal Credit payments, which caused significant issues for the Council’s tenants as well as tenants in the private rental sector.

 

iv)           That the Council’s Housing Directorate undertook a review of housing allocations and tenant services in order to increase and improve the sustainability of Council tenants.

 

v)            That the Council reviewed the provision and considered a re-launch of a scheme with the Acts Trust, which had previously been set up under a Service Level Agreement regarding the re-use and distribution of abandoned furniture to Council tenants, and identified any further opportunities to work with other charities or organisations to improve access to free furniture or white goods for those tenants struggling to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 126.

127.

Absence Management Policy pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Purpose of Report

 

To provide the Executive with an opportunity to consider proposed revisions to the Absence Management Policy.

 

Decision

 

That the proposed changes to the Council’s Absence Management Policy be approved.

 

Alternative Options Considered and Rejected

 

None.

 

Reason for Decision

 

A revision to the current Absence Management Policy had been proposed to more effectively manage long term sickness.

 

In accordance with the Policy, when an employee hit a long term trigger point they would be given a target date to return. In discussions with Unions it was considered by their representatives that this was potentially putting pressure on the employee to return to work earlier than necessary. Taking these concerns into account, it had been proposed to change the policy for long term absence so that this perception of any pressure was removed.

 

The proposed change to the Policy was therefore that employees would not be given a target date to return to work, but would instead have regular meetings with their manager where the employee’s absence would be discussed and monitored. This was set out in further detail at paragraph 4.2 in relation to the different stages associated with long term absence, up to the point of a stage three formal meeting.

 

A copy of the revised Policy was appended to the report. The proposals had been considered by the City of Lincoln Council Employee Joint Consultative Committee, together with the Council’s Service Manager Forum and Assistant Director Group, all of whom were supportive of implementing the proposed change.