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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 16/10/2007
MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE – 8TH OCTOBER 2007




Special Executive 69
08.10.07
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE – 8TH OCTOBER 2007

SUBMITTED TO THE COUNCIL MEETING – 16TH OCTOBER 2007

(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)
*Cllr R J Gates (Chairman)*Cllr D J Munro
*Cllr Mrs P M Frost (Vice-Chairman)Cllr S N Reynolds
*Cllr M H W Band*Cllr J R Sandy
*Cllr B A Ellis*Cllr R J Steel
*Cllr D C Inman *Cllr A E B Taylor-Smith
* Present

Cllrs Mrs E Cable, V Duckett, B J Morgan, K T Reed and K Webster were also in attendance

105. APOLOGY FOR ABSENCE (Agenda Item 1)

An apology for absence was received from Cllr S N Reynolds.

106. DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST (Agenda Item 2)
107. POINT OF EXPLANATION FROM THE LEADER

At the start of the meeting, the Leader stated that the answer given to Mr J Hyman’s question at the Executive meeting on 4th September 2007 had been incorrect, and he read out how the response should have read, as set out below:

The Leader also explained that there had been a misunderstanding in the press relating to the possible cost of making the Redgrave Theatre operational again. There had been a number of figures in the public arena, none of which could be substantiated with background information at the current time. For the moment, he accepted that a much lower estimate of around 6 million had been produced by supporters of the theatre.

PART I - RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COUNCIL

108. EAST STREET REGENERATION, FARNHAM (Agenda Item 3; Appendix A)

[Note pursuant to Section 100B(5) of the Local Government Act 1972: this item contains exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded. The information is as specified in paragraphs 3 and 5 of the revised Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, namely:-

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) (paragraph 3); and

Information in respect of which a claim to legal professional privilege could be maintained in legal proceedings (paragraph 5).

108.1 Over the past three months further negotiations have been held with Crest Nicholson Sainsbury (CNS) in an effort to arrive at a scheme for the East Street site that could be considered to be generally in line with the desires expressed by the residents of Farnham.

108.2 A modified scheme incorporating a number of important changes has been produced. A copy of the leaflet outlining these changes which was circulated to all Farnham residents is appended to this report together with a synopsis of responses at Annexe 1.

108.3 A copy of CNS’ new Masterplan, as submitted, has been circulated separately to all Members of the Council and is available on the Council website http://www.waverley.gov.uk/eaststreet/landlordconsent.pdf.

108.4 In summary the main differences to the scheme currently submitted for planning permission are: A reduction of the number of residential units to 238.
A substantial reduction in the size of the cinema.
A reduction in the total area of A1 and A3 units.
A new multi-storey car park.
A substantial reduction in underground parking.

108.5 Table 1 below illustrates the scale of the reduction over these key elements of the scheme:

Table 1Current Planning Application May 2007Revised Scheme
Sept 2007
Change
NumberArea (sq mts)NumberArea (sq mts)Amount
(sq mts)%
Residential units
294
25,734
23820,8164,918-19
Cinema
2,778
1,980798-29
Retail A1 and A3
10,342
9,420922-9
Underground Parking
19,100
2,27016,830-88

108.6 Table 2 compares the existing number of car parking spaces to the current approved East Street scheme and the revised scheme proposal now being considered.


Table 2 – Number of car parking spacesExisting Provision Current Landowner Sanction May 2007Revised Scheme
Sept 2007
PublicResidentPublicResidentPublicResident
South Street
224
224
Dogflud
228
Former cinema site
75
Riverside
100
300300
East Street Scheme
400294172238
Total
627
700294696238

108.7 The question of the density of the proposed development has been a cause of concern to some Councillors. In itself, it is a matter that should be and will be considered as part of the planning process. The consideration of landowner sanction is concerned with the broad principles and general content of the development proposal. However, an explanation of the differing views that can be taken on density of development is appended at Annexe 2.

108.8 The next step would be for CNS to work up detailed plans for submission of a planning application. However under the terms of the Conditional Contract, Waverley must decide in its capacity as landowner whether to permit the submission of this modified scheme for planning approval. For Members’ benefit an explanation of “Landowner Sanction” is appended to this report at Annexe 3.

108.9 The four main contract pre-conditions are listed below:

- Road closures
- Satisfactory planning permission
- Site Assembly
- Financial viability

108.10 Only when all four conditions have been met, will the scheme proceed. The Conditional Contract with CNS includes a ‘Viability Test’ which specifies how the final judgement will be made about whether the development is financially viable for CNS and the Council. This judgement will be made after the planning and other tests have been completed satisfactorily. Further details of the contract conditions are included at Annexe 4. It should be noted that the Woolmead has never formed part of the East Street scheme as its ownership is outside of Waverley’s control and has never formed part of the site assembly exercise.

108.11 An important part of the consideration of the revised scheme is the financial implications to Waverley of such a modified development proposal. As the scheme is still under negotiation with CNS and the contract is still conditional, it is important that the financial details of the revised scheme remain confidential so as not to compromise the Council’s negotiating position with the developer. A comparison of the financial appraisals at the key stages of the East Street development is set out in (Exempt) Annexe 5, along with a risk assessment.

108.12 The financial appraisal on the revised scheme has been considered by your development consultants, Cluttons. A copy of their report is appended at (Exempt) Annexe 6.

108.13 Unlike a traditional land disposal with sale to the highest bidder which any landowner might undertake, Waverley is looking to achieve the re-development of a run-down part of Farnham and achieve a number of significant benefits for the community. Consequently, there are other financial aspects that Waverley must take into account to identify the net capital receipt. They include the costs of acquiring associated sites, affordable housing, tennis club and car park relocation, and the Council’s property and legal costs. These figures are presented in (Exempt) Annexe 5.

108.14 Under Section 123 of the Local Government Act 1972, local authorities are required to achieve the best consideration that can reasonably be obtained when disposing of an interest in land. In obtaining best consideration, local authorities are not required to dispose of land purely for purposes that result in the highest market value and are allowed to dispose of it for a lawful purpose, the consideration being determined accordingly. Councils are allowed to take into account reasonable social and regeneration objectives and benefits to help determine what is the best consideration. For example on East Street, the Council had a clearly defined Development Brief which aimed to secure the replacement of community facilities, affordable housing and other new facilities such as a cinema and other specified items. Upon completion of the Development Waverley will own the freehold for the entire area of the scheme.

108.15 CNS have responded positively to the Council’s request to work-up a smaller scheme which is more appropriate to the Farnham vernacular, taking into account public concerns about the existing scheme submitted for planning. Their proposed scheme with new design provides reduced numbers of residential units but still with 30% affordable housing, a smaller cinema, substantially reduced underground car parking, a relocated Brightwells Gostrey Centre and retains the ‘green lung’ down to the river. Whilst there are still detailed issues to be negotiated, particularly on financial matters, officers consider that it would be appropriate for the Council to agree to grant landowner sanction subject to satisfactory agreement on these matters.

108.16 In considering this, Members can also draw on results from the public consultation summarised in Annexe 1 to help them in their decision of whether to agree to grant landowner sanction for the new scheme. These results have been circulated to members of the Executive and all Farnham councillors and are available on request to other councillors. Copies have been placed in the Members’ Room and the documents are also available on the Waverley website.

108.17 In conclusion, if Landowner Sanction is granted, the terms of the Conditional Contract, as varied will need to be reviewed. Officers will need to be authorised to negotiate a further Deed of Variation and report back to Members in December with the proposed terms. This will include the negotiation of a revised Minimum Land Value to provide a financial safeguard to the Council.

108.18 The Leader of the Council indicated that the revised scheme should not be increased in size and asked the officers to bear this in mind in their negotiations. He also expressed the hope for the future that Waverley will work together in a constructive partnership with the community in Farnham, including those people who had previously been in opposition to the earlier scheme.

108.19 Having taken a particular interest in the consultation responses which expressed concern about the Woolmead not being included within the East Street site, the Executive agreed to ask officers to commence a dialogue with the owners of the Woolmead to see what future plans they may have for the area, and how the Council could help facilitate them in the medium term. It was emphasised by the Leader that these discussions should be undertaken quite separately from the work on the East Street project. The Executive also

RECOMMENDS that

Background Papers (DoPD)

There is a range of previously published papers covering the history of the scheme, but, there are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
PARTS II AND III - MATTERS OF REPORT

Background Papers

Part II – Matters Reported in Detail for the Information of the Council

Part III – Brief Summaries of Other Matters Dealt With

There were no matters falling within these categories.

The meeting commenced at 7.47 p.m. and concluded at 8.21 p.m.



Chairman
Comms/exec/2007-08/122