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.
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 report and that of the land appropriations as set out in minute number 123 above. The Executive understood and supported the principles behind the land appropriations and the positive impact of the land’s market value as a consequence of the infrastructure that would be put in place as part of the proposed Western Growth Corridor development. The contribution from the Housing Revenue Account in this respect was noted and it was acknowledged that later phases of the scheme would consist of affordable housing and a percentage of social housing.
Councillor Ric Metcalfe, Leader of the Council, in recognition of the work that had been done by the officer team given the significant scale, complexity and challenge of this particular development, offered his congratulations to all officers involved and said that this was a demonstration of the Council’s ambition.