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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 26/04/2006
Minutes of the Meeting of the Executive - 4th April 2006



Executive 125
04.04.06
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE – 4TH APRIL 2006

SUBMITTED TO THE COUNCIL MEETING – 26TH APRIL 2006

(To be read in conjunction with the Agenda for the Meeting)
*Miss G B W Ferguson (Chairman)*Mr C H Mansell
*Mrs C E Savage (Vice-Chairman)*Mr K T Reed
*Mr S D Edge*Mr J E Robini
*Mr B Grainger-Jones*Mr V K Scrivens
*Mr P Haveron
* Present
Mr M W Byham, Mr V Duckett and Mrs D M James were also present
Mr Gates also attended and spoke on Appendix R (Minute No. 284 refers)

262. MINUTES (Agenda Item 1)

263. DISCLOSURE OF INTERESTS (Agenda Item 3)

The following members declared personal interests in the items identified:-

Mr S D EdgeItem 14 – Maltings RefurbishmentAs a Waverley representative on the Maltings
Mr J E RobiniItem 16 – Decriminalised Parking EnforcementAs he is employed by Surrey Police who have now made themselves an influence within the subject.
Mrs C E SavageItem 8 – Community Partnerships FundAs a Waverley representative to the Cranleigh Healthcheck Group
Mr C H MansellItems 8 and 14 – Community Partnerships Fund and Farnham MaltingsAs a member of Farnham Maltings

Mr C H Mansell also declared a personal and prejudicial interest in Agenda Item 18 as a Trustee of Abbeyfield Housing Association. Mr R J Gates declared a personal and prejudicial interest in Item 12 as a Trustee of the John Stanley Jeffries Trust and left the Chamber during consideration of the item.
PART I - RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COUNCIL

264. COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS FUND – APPLICATIONS FOR 2006/07 (Appendix D)
[Wards Affected: All]

264.1 A total of 14 applications to the Community Partnerships Fund were received requesting grants of 314,094. A further three applications were received under the Community Buildings Grant Scheme for 2006/07 requesting grants totalling 24,361. In addition, Waverley’s commitment to funding the Global Grants Scheme, the Sandy Hill Community Action Project and the Implementation of the Action Plan for the Cranleigh and Haslemere Healthchecks also needs to be met from the 260,000 available.

264.2 A list of all the applications is included at Annexe 1. For each application the total project costs and the grant requested are provided, together with the level of any grant recommended (high priority, medium priority or not recommended). To assist Members in considering the bids, applications are presented in the table by geographical area under the relevant Community Strategy theme to show how the projects contribute to the Strategy.

264.3 In October 2005, Members approved the criteria and timetable for the 2006-07 bidding round. The closing date for applications was 16th January 2006. Applicants will be notified of the results after Council on 26th April. Community Partnerships Fund Criteria 264.4 Officers have assessed each application against the approved grant criteria. Details of each application and a summary of the assessment are included in Annexe 2. The Overview and Scrutiny Committees have also considered the applications within their remit and their comments are included later in the report.

264.5 In October, the Executive agreed to continue the Area Partnership Groups’ involvement in assisting with grant assessments in 2006/07. The Area Partnership Groups consist of representatives from Town & Parish Councils and voluntary organisations. Each group has assessed the applications within their geographical area and provided recommendations based on local knowledge. The outcome of this assessment is included in the table attached at Annexe 1 and any comments from the groups are incorporated within the project summaries at Annexe 2.

264.6 The assessments of applications and funding recommendations are based on the results of the following: an assessment of the degree of community benefit in relation to the total grant requested; how the schemes meet Waverley’s Corporate and Service Strategies and the Waverley Community Strategy; the likelihood of the project proceeding; and the potential for drawing in additional resources through partnership funding.

264.7 In October, the Executive agreed that for the 2006-07 bidding round, projects which improve services and facilities for young people may be given priority over other types of projects. Members may also wish to consider the geographical spread of projects within Waverley, and the balance of different types of projects under each of the Community Strategy themes.

Surrey Global Grants

264.8 Surrey Global Grants supports local community groups who provide opportunities for people not in paid work who live in targeted areas of Surrey to develop the skills they need to progress towards paid work, voluntary work or training. Waverley has contributed to the Surrey-wide scheme over the last few years (4,000 in 2001 and 8,000 in the last 4 years). A European Social Fund grant of 100,000 a year for 3 years (2004-2006) has been awarded to the scheme. To provide partnership funding, each Borough has been requested to contribute 8,000 per year with Surrey County Council also making a contribution.

264.9 Most authorities had agreed to a proposed extension of the Global Grants project into 2007, however Surrey County Council cannot commit to funding beyond December 2006 and for that reason this will be the final year that the fund is in operation.

264.10 In 2005, grants totalling 31,899 were awarded to five local community groups in Waverley, providing excellent leverage for Waverley’s contribution (75%). These grants are detailed in Annexe 3. The scheme meets Waverley’s corporate and community objectives by supporting community initiatives in higher need areas in Waverley.

Implementation of Action Plan for the Cranleigh and Haslemere Healthchecks

264.11 Waverley worked with the Cranleigh and Haslemere Initiatives in developing funding bids to the former Countryside Agency to undertake Market Town Healthchecks in each community. The Healthchecks and first stage of the implementation of the projects were supported through the Community Partnerships Fund in 2004/05 with a grant of 15,000.

264.12 The conclusion of the first phase of the implementation of the Action Plans is approaching and funding for this stage of the Co-ordinator posts comes to an end in March 2006. The second phase of the implementation will start in the Spring and the Co-ordinators’ posts will be extended for a further two years in order to continue to deliver the Action Plan agreed as part of the Healthchecks.

264.13 At the Executive on 12th October 2005, the continued employment of the two part-time Co-ordinators was endorsed and approval given for 15,000 (7,500 per annum towards the budgeted costs of 20,000 per annum for each post) to be allocated from the Community Partnerships Fund in 2006/07 and 2007/08. Officers are seeking matched-funding of the same value from Cranleigh Parish Council and Haslemere Town Council towards the posts.

Voluntary and Community Sector Infrastructure Development

264.14 A report was submitted to Community Overview & Scrutiny on 16th January 2006 to seek approval to support a proposed development project to prepare the ground for a Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) in Waverley.

264.15 An application for funding from the Community Partnerships Fund has since been received from the Guildford Association of Voluntary Services (GAVS) to employ a project officer for a time-limited period to work with the existing network of infrastructure organisations in Waverley and Guildford. The research and consultation undertaken in Waverley recommended that the developmental stage toward establishing a CVS should be managed by a Project Officer for a time-limited period (no more than two years).

264.16 CVS is a partnership agreement between the County, the Boroughs and the PCTs and the application to the Community Partnerships Fund is for a 20,000 contribution towards the total project costs of 50,000. A summary of the project and officers’ comments and recommendations are included in Annexe 2. Community Building Grants Scheme 264.17 The Council has previously participated in the Surrey-wide Community Buildings Grants Scheme and has administered applications received in accordance with Councils’ Community Partnerships Fund. The Grant Scheme is based on funding for approved projects of one third from the Borough & District Councils, one third from Surrey County Council and one third from the organisation. The Grant Scheme is managed by the Village Halls Advisor at Surrey Community Action who undertakes the promotion of the Scheme and administers and assesses the applications for Surrey County Council. Copies of the application forms are supplied to the Borough and District Councils who undertake their own assessments and make recommendations to Surrey County Council in preparation for their consideration of all the applications within Surrey.

264.18 Three applications requesting funding in 2006/07 were received under the Community Buildings Grants Scheme. These have been assessed and the recommended grants are tabled in Annexe 1 for information. These Community Buildings Grants Scheme applications have been considered by both the Community and the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committees.

264.19 In addition to the three projects, Surrey Community Action has requested a contribution of 1,000 in 2006/07 towards the costs of 26,000 for the Village and Community Halls Adviser post. Surrey County Council will provide funding of 10,000 with a request of 1,000 from each Borough Council. In addition, to administering the grant scheme, the post-holder also provides a number of key support services to Village Halls & Community Buildings in Waverley. The key benefits include:

Ongoing training and briefings to topical subjects to groups of village hall/community buildings management committee members/trustees;

One to one advice and support to individual halls via telephone and personal visits

Funding Allocation

264.20 The total Community Partnerships Fund allocation for 2006-07 is 300,000 including Community Buildings Grants Schemes and 40,000 for the small grants scheme. In addition, a balance of 16,662 is available from previous years’ allocations. When the Council agreed the funding for the 2005-06 round, Members agreed to leave an unallocated balance of 41,162 to fund high priority projects that may emerge during 2005/06. Two important projects were awarded funds in the year, namely the Farnham Youth Project, 12,000 (additional funding), and the CAB Demonstration Centre Project, 20,000. This leaves a balance of 9,162.

264.21 Subsequent to being offered a grant of 7,500 in 2005/06 towards its barn restoration project, the Hambledon Village Trust was successful in obtaining a grant from the Rural Enterprise Scheme in June 2005 towards the project. Therefore Waverley’s grant offer was no longer required. In the 2004-05 Community Partnerships Fund round, Pavilion Housing was offered a grant of 30,000 in towards the Sandy Hill Bungalow project. In December 2005 officers were made aware that Pavilion Housing proposed to significantly change the project and its funding. Officers advised Pavilion to submit the revised scheme to the 2006-07 bidding round. If Members agree to support the new scheme as recommended, the original 30,000 will be available to support future schemes.

264.22 The total Community Partnership funding requested by all the applicants is 314,094, with additional requests of 24,361 under the Community Buildings Grant Scheme. In addition, Waverley is committed to funding the Global Grants Scheme, the Sandy Hill Community Action project and the Implementation of the Action Plans for the Cranleigh and Haslemere Healthchecks. The total funding requests for 2006-07 are 380,705.

264.23 It is recommended that all High Priority schemes be awarded funding in accordance with the schedule at Annexe 1. In addition, Members are requested to consider awarding funding to the Chiddingfold Playground appeal project which has been assessed as being Medium Priority. This assessment is based mainly on the fact that the project involves the replacement and upgrade of existing facilities. However, the need has been well evidenced and the project will deliver significant community benefits in line with Waverley’s objectives and priorities and the scheme has been successful in involving the community in both design and fundraising.

264.24 In accordance with the current agreed practice, it is proposed to ring-fence any unallocated balance from the 2006-07 available amount for urgent high priority schemes that may emerge during the year.

264.25 A summary of the proposed funding allocations for 2006/07 is set out below:

      2006-07 Funding allocation for main bidding round
260,000
      Balance available from previous years (see paras. 22 and 23)
16,662
      Total funding available
276,662
      Implementation of the Action Plans for the Cranleigh and Haslemere Healthchecks
15,000
      Global Grants Scheme
8,000
      Sandy Hill Community Action Project
13,860
      Total funding available after existing commitments
239,802
      Community Partnerships Fund -
      Recommended High Priority projects (See Annexe 1)
187,937
      Community Buildings Grants (see Annexe 1)
24,361
      Balance remaining
27,504
      Community Partnerships Fund -
      Recommended Medium Priority projects (See Annexe 1)
11,250
      AMOUNT REMAINING FOR URGENT SCHEMES*
16,254
Overview and Scrutiny Committee Observations Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee

264.26 The Committee considered a report regarding applications submitted to the Community Partnerships Fund for 2006/7, including the Community Buildings Grant Scheme applications for 2006/7 and wished to pass the following observations to the Executive. Officers explained that Area Partnership Groups, made up of town and parish council representatives, voluntary organisations and officers, had provided recommendations on each of the applications taking account of certain criteria.
264.27. Members supported the recommendations but debated whether the Thorburn Watercolour application from Godalming Museum Trust should be refused, as recommended. The Trust had applied for other sources of funding to achieve the 25,935 total cost and Members felt the purchase of the watercolour for the Museum would have a great cultural benefit for Godalming. Following a vote, it was agreed to recommend to the Executive that if the Trust could secure the other sources of funding it needed, the application of 6,483 from WBC should be supported.

Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee

264.28 The Committee looked in detail at the report and was particularly interested in the application from the Milford and Villages Day Centre and the proposed recommendation that no grant be awarded. The Committee was anxious that there was a conflict of opinion between the Area Partnership Group classifying the scheme as a high priority and the officers not recommending any grant. It was clarified that the application had not met the criteria for the scheme which had been set by the Council earlier in the year.

264.29 The Committee wished to recommend to the Executive that the application from the Milford and Villages Day Centre should be deferred and sent back to organisation to enable them to discuss further with officers their ability to meet the criteria with the objective of resubmitting their application to a later meeting. The Committee agreed that the recommendations identified for those organisations within its remit should be passed to the Executive for approval with no additional observations.

264.30 The Executive

RECOMMENDS that
Background Papers (DoF)

Community Partnerships Fund and Community Buildings Grant Scheme applications for 2006/2007.

265. HOUSING ACT 2004: PRIVATE SECTOR HOUSING RENEWAL (Appendix G)
[Wards Affected: All]

265.1 The Executive has received a report setting out the legislative changes which will affect the Council’s statutory housing duties and seeking authority to introduce a licensing scheme for Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

265.2 Several statutory instruments (regulations) made pursuant to the Housing Act 2004 have come into effect on 6th April 2006. A number of provisions within the Act, and the associated regulations, will affect the Council’s statutory duties relating to the private sector housing, and these are listed below.

♦ Housing health and safety rating system
♦ Licensing of houses in multiple occupation
♦ Selective licensing
♦ Management orders
♦ Overcrowding notices
♦ New protections for the residents of park home sites

Housing Health and Safety Rating System

265.3. The new Act replaces the existing fitness standard which is used to determine whether properties are suitable for human habitation. The current fitness standard will be replaced by Part 1 of the Housing Act 2004 which introduces the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS). This is a new system for assessing and enforcing housing standards. The system is based on the principle that any residential premises should provide a safe and healthy environment for any potential occupier or visitor.

265.4 The HHSRS is a risk-based approach for identifying faults in dwellings and of evaluating the potential effect of any faults on the health and safety of the occupants or visitors. The assessment procedure comprises of 29 hazards which are organised into 4 main groups: physiological requirements (e.g. risk from cold and damp conditions, risk from asbestos), psychological requirements (e.g. risk from intruders), protection from infection and protection against accidents.

265.5 The hazards are assessed on the basis of likelihood of an occurrence that could result in harm and the probable severity of the outcome if it did occur. A formula is used to give a score for the hazard. Where a hazard scores over 1000 it will be deemed to be a category 1 hazard. Those hazards which score below 1000 will be category 2 hazards. The Council has a duty to take action where a category 1 hazard exists and there is a power to take action where a category 2 hazard exists. Such courses of action are set out in section 5(1) of the Act (and are reported in detail in paragraph 8 below), and the duty is to take the best course of action available to the Local Housing Authority (“the LHA”).

265.6. The benefits of HHSRS include the ability to include all serious health and safety hazards. The system enables the effect of defects to be assessed and is more flexible as it can be extended and updated as the available knowledge of particular hazards increases. HHSRS also covers factors such as energy efficiency and falls associated with stairs and internal arrangement; previously the Council did not have powers to deal with hazards associated with these factors.

HHSRS Enforcement Provisions

265.7 The HHSRS also brings with it a new regime of enforcement measures for the private sector. The existing enforcement provisions such as Minded To Notices, Repair Notices and Closing Orders will be repealed and replaced by the following new measures:-

Emergency Remedial Action – can be taken where a category 1 hazard exists on a residential premises and the hazard involves an imminent risk to the health or safety of the occupiers of that or any other residential premises. The Local authority can take any remedial action necessary to remove the category 1 hazard. Any expenses reasonably incurred in taking the remedial action can be recovered.

265.8 Provisions to charge for enforcement functions are included within the Act. Under existing arrangements a charge of 50 per hour up to the statutory maximum of 300 is made for each notice served under specified sections of the Housing Act 1985 and the Housing Grants, Construction and Regeneration Act 1996. There is also provision for improvement notices and prohibition orders to be suspended for a specified time in certain circumstances (and to be varied or revoked where appropriate). Where a notice or order is suspended it can be reviewed at any time and it must be reviewed not later than 1 year from the date of service.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

265.9 The Act introduces a new definition for HMOs which is more detailed and complex than the previous one. This is summarised below:-

265.10 Household is defined as:

265.11 This new definition will result in properties which were previously not considered to be HMOs, such as those occupied by students, to fall within the definition of a HMO. Conversely many properties previously considered to be HMOs will no longer fall within the definition e.g. many buildings entirely comprising of self-contained flats. If the Council is satisfied that a building, or part of a building, is an HMO, it may serve a notice, known as an HMO Declaration, declaring the building or part to be an HMO. An HMO Declaration can be revoked if multiple occupation is no longer a significant use of the property.

Mandatory HMO Licensing

265.12 Licensing aims to improve housing conditions and ensure the health and safety of tenants in larger high risk HMOs. Part 2 of the Act introduces mandatory licensing of HMOs of 3 or more storeys with 5 or more occupants (or as otherwise may be prescribed by regulations, or voluntarily designated by the LHA following consultation). LHAs are required to promote the implementation of licensing and to deal promptly with applications.

265.13 Under the mandatory licensing scheme a person owning or managing a HMO, which is required to be licensed, will be required to apply for a licence for that property. The Council is required to grant a licence if it is satisfied that the HMO meets relevant standards and is suitable for occupation by the permitted number of persons. The licence can last for up to 5 years.

265.14 Local authorities are required to carry out a full HHSRS inspection as soon as reasonably practicable, and certainly within 5 years, on all properties that have been granted a licence. The Council will need to ensure that the licence holder is a ‘fit and proper person’ (which involves a criminal records review) before granting a licence.

265.15 The licence will specify the maximum number of occupants for the HMO and will include conditions relating to the management of the house and any other suitable conditions which ensure the proper running of the HMO. Failure to apply for a licence, or to permit occupation by more persons than licensed, can result in the landlord being fined up to 20,000. Breach of any licence condition is also an offence leading to a fine not exceeding 5,000.

265.16 The government has advised that they will not be issuing any prescriptive guidance to Local Authorities on the operation of the licensing scheme. Local Authorities are expected to develop the schemes to suit their local circumstances. This includes procedures for licence applications and fees for obtaining a licence. The details of the scheme are yet to be agreed however discussions have taken place with neighbouring boroughs Woking and Guildford to agree similar procedures for applications and for agreeing a suitable fee structure which so far as is reasonable reflects some of the cost of operating the licensing scheme.

265.17 Your officers recognise the important role the private rented sector has in providing accommodation within the Waverley area and aims to work with Landlords in implementing licensing. Consultation with private landlords on the application process and fees has been started and an open forum was held on 3rd October 2005. Over 70 people attended this and further events will be arranged as the need arises including tenant groups.

Staffing Implications for HMO Licensing

265.18 It is currently estimated that there are 50 properties which will require licensing under the mandatory scheme. The Private Sector Housing Team is working to update the list of HMOs in Waverley in light of the new legislation. It is expected that the number of licensable HMOs will rise above the current estimate. The work involved in preparing for the introduction of HMO licensing is being carried out within existing resources. However, the requirement for full inspections and enforcement activity on all licensed HMOs within 5 years may be too much for the team of two officers when combined with their current duties. Specific competency criteria have been set for officers applying the new HHSRS standard. Currently, three officers within Waverley have undergone this training and assessment to satisfy the competency requirement. It is likely that there will be a need to employ additional temporary staff or contractors to carry out HMO inspections.

Financial Implications

265.19 Following a process of consultation with landlords through the landlord forum and benchmarking with neighbouring authorities, the following licence fees are proposed:

The charge will be levied as a lump sum at the time of application.

265.20 It is estimated that the Council should receive an income of approximately 22,500 from licensing fees. This will be required over the initial introductory period of the scheme to employ external or temporary officers to conduct inspections. It is requested that the income stream generated by licensing be hypothecated to support management of the scheme.

Additional Licensing and Selective Licensing

265.21 The Act also introduces a discretionary power, known as additional licensing, to license particular types of HMO not covered by mandatory licensing e.g. two storey bedsit houses. An alternative option to additional licensing is to raise standards by voluntary accreditation. Such schemes have been successful in other areas and are preferred by Landlords as they seek to reward good landlords, whilst driving out the bad ones. It is considered that existing resources will be fully extended in processing applications and inspecting HMOs under the mandatory licensing scheme. Furthermore no clear patterns of concerns have arisen from any particular type or locality of HMO in Waverley. The need for additional licensing will be reviewed within the 5 year transitional period.

265.22 Part 3 of the Act provides discretionary provisions for selective licensing by Local Authorities of all privately rented housing in a particular area. Selective licensing is aimed at areas of low demand housing where there are problems with anti social behaviour and poor management of properties. The current circumstances in the Borough do not warrant the need for selective licensing. The powers available through mandatory and additional HMO licensing are likely to be sufficient to deal with HMOs. This can be reviewed should there be any significant changes in the private rental market.

Additional Control Provisions for HMOS

265.23 Part 4 of the Act contains mechanisms which enable Local Authorities, under certain circumstances, to take over the management of a HMO which is subject to mandatory licensing. These measures are not intended to punish the landlord but to ensure the property is managed responsibly and safely for the benefit of the occupiers and others living and owning property nearby. The provisions available are in the form of Interim and Final Management Orders which will enable the Council to take over the management of a property where there is no available fit and proper person to take on the responsibilities of a licence. The Council would only use these measures as a last resort when all informal and formal attempts to secure compliance have failed.

265.24 In addition to management orders, Part 4 of the Act enables the Council to serve an Overcrowding Notice in respect of an HMO if it considers that there is an excessive number of occupants. The notice must state the maximum number of occupants for the property and require either that the number of occupants is reduced to that number or that no new residents are permitted in the property until the number of occupants has fallen below the maximum permitted number. Failure to comply with an overcrowding notice can result in the landlord being fined up to 2500.

Empty Properties

265.25 Additional measures relating to bringing empty properties back into use are also available in the form of Empty Dwelling Management Orders (EDMO’s). There are 2 types of order, Interim and Final EDMO’s, that enable local authorities to secure occupation and proper management of privately owned properties which have been empty for a specified period (currently 6 months) and where certain other conditions are met.

265.26 When an EDMO is in place the local authority takes on the responsibilities of the owner. Before making an EDMO the Council must consider it is the most appropriate course of action taking account of the rights of the owner and the wider community in which the property is located. To make an EDMO the Council must apply to the Residential Property Tribunal (RPT). Compulsory purchase is also available to deal with long-term empty properties.

Appeals

265.27 Appeals against any enforcement action under the Housing Act 2004 should be brought before the Residential Property Tribunal (RPT). Previously appeals were either made at the magistrates or the county court. Appeals to the RPT should be more straightforward and less time consuming than appeals to the Courts. The Government is due to provide further details on the appeals procedures and RPTs.
Protection for Residents of Park Homes Sites

265.28 The Government has indicated that it considers park home sites to provide a positive contribution to the current affordable housing shortages in rural locations. It has long been acknowledged that the law governing residential park homes does not offer the protection to the residents of these homes that it should. Part 6 of the Housing Act 2004 introduces the first stage of an ongoing reform programme for park home legislation.

265.29 The Act changes the statutory provisions that apply to Mobile Home Agreements (the contract between the park owner and the mobile home owner) originally introduced in the Mobile Homes Act 1983. In brief it introduces:

o A requirement that the agreement is to be given to the purchaser of a park home in advance. This is to prevent unscrupulous park owners from altering an agreement after a resident has purchased and moved into the park home. o The tightening up of the provisions for which a park owner can withhold approval for a prospective home owner. The need for approval can easily be abused by unscrupulous park owners who are able to frustrate sales thereby forcing park home owners to sell to them at well below market value. The new provisions go some way to preventing this. o The removal of the ‘age’ criterion for ending an agreement. Previously a court could terminate an agreement on the grounds of the ‘age and condition’ of the home. This new provision enables the court to only consider the condition of a home and furthermore allows the court to give a homeowner time to carry out repairs.
o An increase in the protection of park home owners from unlawful eviction and harassment. It is now sufficient to show that a park owner or agent has reasonable cause to believe that his conduct is likely to result in a homeowner leaving his home. Previously ‘intent’ had to be proved.

265.30 The Housing Act 2004 also introduces a provision that allows the Secretary of State to change implied terms in Mobile Homes Act agreements. A consultation process has begun on the proposed changes. Eligibility for mandatory disabled facilities grants has also been extended by the Act. Previously to be eligible for a disabled facilities grant a potential applicant had to be on a licensed park home site. This requirement has been removed and so caravan dwellers on any land will be entitled to a mandatory disabled facilities grant subject to meeting other eligibility criteria. This continues the pattern to extend access to disabled facilities grants. At the beginning of the year, the removal of the requirement to means test parental income in relation to grants for disabled children will also be applied to licensed park home sites. This is likely to extend demand significantly.

265.31 The changes introduced under this act are part of an ongoing reform programme. This year the ODPM has also consulted on reforming site licensing and amending the definition of a mobile home and are currently consulting on updating the model standards for licensing. The Council is responsible for issuing site licensing for private residential mobile home sites.

265.32 The Executive has agreed that the replacement of the existing fitness standard with the Housing Health and Safety Rating System (HHSRS) be noted, the fees for licensing houses in Multiple Occupation be set as per paragraph 265.19 and that the net income should be monitored and reported to members as part of the budget monitoring process and future year's budgets include the appropriate provisions. The Executive also

RECOMMENDS that

Background Papers (DoEL)

Housing Act 2004
Housing Health and Safety Rating System Operating Guidance
Housing Health and Safety Rating System Enforcement Guidance
The Licensing and Management of Houses in Multiple Occupation and other Houses (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2006.

266. PROPOSALS FOR THE INTERIM OPERATION OF GODALMING LEISURE CENTRE BY DC LEISURE

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).]

266.1 The Executive received a report setting out the proposed interim management arrangements for Godalming Leisure Centre for operation by a commercial management operator.

266.2 A report to Members in January 2006 outlined 1) the problems that the JSJ Trust was encountering in the operation of the centre and 2) the funding for both revenue support and capital which Waverley had accordingly provided. The 2006/07 and 2007/08 budgets contain capital programme items totalling 817,000 for refurbishment works and the 2006/07 revenue budget contains a 150,000 revenue provision. The 150,000 is made up of 120,000 for increasing annual trading deficits, based on a continuing trust operation and a declining trading position, and 30,000 for supporting prudential borrowing for the unfunded element of the capital scheme cost.

266.3 Following requests from the JSJ Trustees, a report was submitted to the Council on 21st February 2006 and, in line with independent advice received, officers were requested to conclude all necessary arrangements to effect a transfer of control of the property and assets of the JSJ Trust to the Council. Additionally, officers were requested to report further on potential interim arrangements and costed options for management arrangements for the centre in the longer term. It is intended that all Waverley’s centres will be able to be tendered together, or future arrangements negotiated, with a new contract start July 2008 subject to Serco’s willingness to allow early termination of the Cranleigh contract and any costs arising. This approach was agreed by the Executive on 7th March 2006, subject to Council approval.

266.4 Arrangements for the transfer of control of the Centre are in hand and proceeding in parallel with negotiations for interim management. Discussions with the Charity Commission are underway concerning the transfer of charitable trust assets to Waverley and valuations of those assets are in hand. The existing Trustees require a public meeting to be held under the terms of their trust deed and this is planned for Friday 5th May 2006.

266.5 In line with the Chief Officer Group’s recommendations, officers approached both the management operators with which Waverley has contractual arrangements at its other centres, for interim management proposals. Serco Leisure declined to submit a proposal. DC Leisure Management, however, were prepared to work with officers to prepare a proposal, the principal details of which are set out in this report.

266.6 There are a number of factors surrounding the interim management of the Centre, for the period in question, which do not make it very attractive to a commercial operator:- the short length of the contract period – i.e. a maximum of 2 years
the current state of the centre in terms of the decline in trading and in the fabric of the building itself
the partial closure period of 6 months during the next 2 years while the capital works are undertaken
the loss of income during that period together with the uncertainty over subsequent return of customers
the continuing liability for staffing expenses during the closure period
the short period available to prospective operators, in which to research and price this arrangement, and the associated risks.

266.7 Additionally, there are a number of factors that will cause any commercial contractor to make additions to the current cost base in any management proposal:-

the commercial return required by a commercial operator
the additional NNDR burden faced by a commercial operator as opposed to a charitable trust
the additional VAT burden faced by a commercial operator as opposed to a charitable trust.

266.8. Commercial proposals for the management of the Centre under the conditions above were, therefore, expected to be relatively expensive and calculated by contractors to avoid all risks. On the other hand, it would be reasonable to expect a commercial operator to be able to introduce more commercial practices in terms of marketing, promotions and customer care to generate more income, to have greater buying power and secure economies of scale. However, DC’s position is that, although such benefits would be achievable over a ‘normal’ term contract, it is not realistic for DC to price them into an interim proposal because of the risks attached to this particular project. For example, the start-up period of any new contract is always uncertain and costly, there is a declining trading position at the moment and an overall contract length of only 2 years (maximum) is insufficient to be confident of building up trade even without a closure period of 6 months.

266.9 Details of the DC proposal are set out at the (Exempt) Annexe to this report.

266.10 The options available to Waverley are:

accept DC Leisure’s proposal and retain the ability to package all contracts together in 2008 (subject to Serco’s acceptance of early termination and the terms of such)
decline DC Leisure’s proposal and seek another contractor which would allow Waverley to retain ability to package all contracts together in 2008 (subject to Serco’s acceptance of early termination and the terms of such)
decline DC Leisure’s proposal and offer longer term contract and lose ability to package all contracts together in 2008
in-house operation
explore other management options which may avoid VAT and NNDR costs.

266.11 Officers conclude that the long term advantage to Waverley, including financial advantage, is to be obtained by having a package of leisure centre management contracts with a start date of July 2008 and Members have approved this approach, noting that there are risks around whether the Cranleigh centre can be brought within this arrangement. Unfortunately interim contracts are always relatively expensive but, taking the wider perspective, the proposed course of action is to accept DC Leisure’s proposal and retain the ability to package all contracts together in 2008.
266.12 The Executive accordingly

RECOMMENDS that

Background Papers (DoEL)

Various correspondence with Serco and DC Leisure.

267. THE FARNHAM MALTINGS REFURBISHMENT PROPOSALS (Appendix J)
[Wards Affected: All Farnham Wards]

267.1 The Executive considered a report on the progress of the refurbishment works at the Farnham Maltings, seeking approval for the release of further matched-funding for Phase 2 of the scheme.

267.2 The refurbishment of the Farnham Maltings South Wing, including the provision of performance/theatre space, is a key priority for the Council. In December 2003, the Executive agreed to matched-funding raised by the Maltings for the refurbishment of the South Wing, on the basis of one-third Waverley Funding for two-thirds Maltings funding up to a maximum of 400,000, subject to meeting the conditions of the matched funding scheme. The total estimated cost for the project identified at that time was 1.2million.

267.3. The sum of 200,000 was included in the capital programme for 2004/5 and another 200,000 allocated in the 2005/6 programme, with a further sum of 350,000 committed in principle to funding future phases of the refurbishment on the basis of one-third Waverley Funding to two-thirds Maltings funding to an overall maximum on all phases of 750,000 from Waverley.

267.4 Given the difficulties encountered in raising the necessary funding for a complete scheme, the scope of Phase 1 was scaled down. The scope of the works primarily focused on bringing the South Wing back into use, opening up the entrance of the building and providing full access to the building with the installation of a lift. In line with the reduced scheme, the partnership funding from Waverley was also reduced from the originally anticipated 400,000 to 306,000. Phase 1 has now been completed on time and to budget.

267.5 Having completed Phase 1, the Maltings Trust has now turned its efforts to raising additional funds for the planned Phase 2 project. This element of the refurbishment is intended to restore the roof of the South Wing, replace the brickwork that is worn and out of character, restore windows and doorways and complete the fitting out of the interior of the South Wing (including new toilets, dressing rooms, Studio, and corridor access from the South West Kiln stairway).

267.6 A full breakdown of the estimated costs for Phase 2 was set out in an annexe to the report. In total, the cost of Phase 2 is estimated to be 697,964, which would result in a contribution of 232,655 from Waverley.

267.7 As this part of the refurbishment focuses on the heritage element of the building, the Maltings has applied to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for a large element of the funding required to carry out Phase 2. The application has been submitted pending a decision from the Board by 30th March. If successful, this could provide up to 300,000 towards the cost of the works. In addition, funding has also been secured from Arts Council England towards the provision of tiered seating, lighting and sound facilities for the newly created performance space. The Maltings continues to apply for grant funding from other various sources available to it.

267.8 To date, the Maltings has received 306,000 from the Council towards the initial Phase 1 costs of 918,000. Phase 2 is anticipated to cost 697,964 and under the terms set out by the Council, if sufficient funding can be secured by the Maltings then Waverley has pledged to fund one third i.e. 232,655. A budget of 217,000 has been identified in the 2006/7 Capital Programme with the balance of 15,655 being met from slippage from the 2005/06 Programme to meet the total sum, should the Maltings secure the funding necessary. If successful it is anticipated that the seating, lighting, sound systems will be installed in April/May, the heritage works between June to September and the remaining fit out of the dressing rooms, toilets and bar in early 2007.

267.9 The following risks have been identified:

Inability to raise sufficient partnership funding to complete phase 2.
Increased costs associated with phase 2 if there is a delay in securing partnership funding
Overspend on project once works begin.

267.10 To minimise some of the risk, it would be necessary for Officers to be satisfied that sufficient external funding had been secured to undertake Phase 2, before Waverley funding is formally offered. Any funding agreed by Waverley would be subject to the organisation meeting the criteria set out in the community partnership funding scheme. The Maltings would also be required to enter into a funding agreement with the Council for this new element of grant aid, which will include any conditions around repayment of the grant and any actions in event of this scheme not proceeding.

267.11 The Executive therefore

RECOMMENDS that

147. the proposed phase 2 works be endorsed;

149. approval be given to the release of up to 232,655 for Phase 2 once the remaining partnership funding has been secured and the works have been undertaken.

Background Papers (DoEL)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

268. LOCAL GOVERNMENT REORGANISATION – LATEST POSITION (Appendices S.1 and S.2)
[Wards Affected: All]

268.1 Members will recall that the Executive, at its meeting on 7th March, took the decision to ask the Local Government Reorganisation Special Interest Group to review the proposals on the inclusion of any part of the Borough in the proposed Blackwater Valley City region and to recommend the next meeting of the Executive on this to enable a recommendation to be made to the Council.

268.2 The Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, at its meeting on 21st March, commended both the SIG and the Executive for its work to date and wished to emphasise the Executive's decision to review proposals relating to the Blackwater Valley city region. The Committee also wished to make the following observations:-

that members would like the Executive to give equal weighting to the option of an enhanced status quo and pursue this option in whichever way possible that there was some concern about the proposed grouping with Guildford and Woking Borough Councils. Members did not want too much emphasis placed on the proposed grouping at this stage and suggested that it should be reconsidered.

268.3 Members may have read in the press or seen in the media news items on a report commissioned by the ODPM on the "State of the English Cities". This research project, which has been running since the Government produced its Urban White Paper in 2000 entitled "Our Towns and Cities: The Future" has now reported in detail on the competitiveness and success of city regions in England. An extract from The Times identified that the Aldershot or "Aldershot/Blackwater Valley" City Region is one of the most economically successful in England. It does, however, appear from the ODPM report that Waverley is not included in what is described as a "primary urban area" titled Aldershot or Aldershot/Blackwater Valley, but will still quite possibly be included in other broader areas related to this, such as the travel to work area or the hinterland for this City Region.

268.4 The report sets out the competitive success of England City Regions over the last six years in the European context. With the exception of London, Bristol and Leeds, the performance of major cities in Britain has been disappointing. However, as explained above, Aldershot City Region has actually been one of the top improvers in England and is part of a group described as the small cities (125,000-275,000 population) in the south-east, which the Government's report acknowledges are the most successful economically in England.

268.5 The report has significance for Waverley whether or not it is included within the area and the history of Waverley's linkages with the Blackwater Valley is set out in Annexe 4. There could be significant advantages in Government policy to City Regions, particularly the successful ones in the south-east. The Government is holding out promises of decentralising decision making to help encourage economic success, measures to encourage entrepreneurial local leadership and of possibilities of infrastructure improvements and a new Public Service Agreement (PSA) round.
268.6 The report draws attention to the risk of the very successful small towns in the south east becoming victims of their success if infrastructure does not keep pace with development. It points out that economic growth could be slowed in the future if infrastructure investment is not made. It refers, in particular, to the role of what are described as "integrated multi-modal transport systems" and, as Annexe 2 explains, Local Authorities in the area of the Blackwater Valley have been trying to work together to improve infrastructure, particularly for transport.

268.7 The Government is acknowledging that it could have done more to join up its actions to help city regions prosper, but says that initiatives in areas such as encouraging Councils to develop joint community strategies and work through Local Strategic Partnerships, are increasing the potential for benefits from a better co-ordinated approach by the Government to encouraging these local economies.

268.8 The report does point out the disappointing rate of growth of city regions in the north and west of the country and has said that there will have to be investment in these to reduce the regional gap which is widening. However, as explained above, it also refers to the need for investment in making the City Regions in the south-east sustainable and continuing with their success. It suggests that these might be encouraged by means of new urban PSAs which could offer additional resources for projects which could encourage growth or sustain growth in these areas, such as Aldershot.

268.9 The Government's thinking on structural change in the State of English Cities report is an interesting contrast to the current exercise being carried out in advance of the White Paper on restructuring Local Government.

268.10 The SIG considered the strong view put forward by Farnham Town Council that it did not wish to be part of the Blackwater Valley City Region and there was a consensus amongst the SIG that, in any form of reorganisation, the Borough should not be split and Farnham particularly should not be separated and drawn into the Blackwater Valley or proposed Aldershot City region.

268.11 However, it was agreed that there was merit in maintaining current close links with other authorities and bodies such as the Blackwater Valley Member Steering Group, on an informal basis, to ensure that Waverley would not be disadvantaged or miss potential opportunities that may arise. In particular the impact of further growth in the Aldershot City Region on Farnham made it important that Waverley had a voice in any wider forum covering the whole Blackwater Valley area.

268.12 The SIG considered the comment of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee relating to alternative geographical groupings and Waverley's affinity with Mole Valley. Officers explained that the three Council grouping of Mole Valley, Reigate and Banstead and Tandridge was progressing its proposals for cooperative and joint working. These Councils had commissioned consultants to explore the potential for improving services and reducing costs. The SIG suggested, and the Executive concurred that the Leader be authorised to approach Mole Valley, to ask if Waverley could share the conclusions of the consultant's report and also to explore the possibility of an alternative geographical grouping of Councils.

268.13 The Leader also updated the Executive on issues arising from her meeting with the Local Government Minister on 29th March. It appears that the Government is still gathering information and opinions before devising proposals for inclusion in the White Paper due to be published in June of this year. It is still not clear if the process of restructuring into unitary councils, larger than current boroughs, will be entirely voluntary, or whether the Government will have powers to impose restructuring. However, there remains a real possibility of an imposed restructuring if agreement cannot be reached between Councils. Recent press reports talk about reserve powers being included in legislation.

268.14 Officers now feel that the Council will have to explore the most likely grouping of Council’s for a unitary authority to enable Waverley to respond positively to the White Paper. The Executive has therefore authorised the Leader to meet with the Leaders of Woking and Guildford Borough Councils to explore possibilities for some form of joint working to prepare to respond to the White Paper. The Executive also noted the response received from Surrey County Council but recognised that, as it did not give enough information, the request for a meeting with them should be pursued.

268.15 The Executive accordingly

RECOMMENDS that

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.

269. PAY CLAIM 2006 (Appendix U)
[Wards Affected: N/A]

269.1 Members will be aware that the Joint Negotiating Committee had agreed to request ACAS to provide conciliation services regarding the 2006 Pay Claim. A representative from ACAS met members of the Employers' Negotiating Team and Staffside representatives on 21st March 2006.

269.2 The latter has now reported back to staff at four meetings held for the purpose on 22nd March, 24th March, 27th March and 30th March. Staffside agreed, following this series of meetings, to accept the employers' offer of 3.0%.

269.3. The resource implications are set out in the table below:-

SALARY BUDGETS 2006/2007

Budget
Cost at 3.0%
Supplementary Estimate Required
000
000
000
General Fund
279
310
31
Housing Revenue Account
105
117
12
Other Funds
6
6
-
390
433
43

269.4 The Executive

RECOMMENDS that

153. the 3.0% settlement for all pay bands, reached with the staffside representatives, be approved with effect from 1st January 2006 and that supplementary estimates of 31,000 be approved, to be met from the General Fund balances and 12,000 to be met from Housing Revenue Account balances.

Background Papers (DoF)

There are no background papers (as defined by Section 100D(5) of the Local Government Act 1972) relating to this report.
MATTERS OF REPORT

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

There are no matters falling within this category.

Part III – Brief Summaries of Other Matters Dealt With

270. FOUR MONTH ROLLING PROGRAMME (Appendix A)
[Wards Affected: N/A]

271. IMPLEMENTING ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT RETURN 2006 (IEG6) (Appendix B)
[Wards Affected: All]

RESOLVED that Waverley's IEG6 Return be approved for submission to the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, and that officers report to a future meeting on the Council webcasting system and on web pages for Councillors.

272. ELECTRONIC DOCUMENTS AND RECORDS MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (EDRMS) (Appendix C)
[Wards Affected: All]

RESOLVED that

3. subject to the findings of the study, initial priority be given to the management of email and Microsoft Office files.

273. TREE RISK MANAGEMENT – AN UPDATE (Appendix E)
[Wards Affected: All]
RESOLVED that

1. the current progress made on the Council’s Tree Risk Management be noted;

2. the capital budget for remediation works of 80,000, as included in the General Fund Capital Programme and 20,000 in the Housing Revenue Account Capital Programme for 2006/2007, and in the Draft Capital Programme for 2007/2008 and 2008/2009, be re-affirmed; and 3. a further report be received on this matter in Autumn 2008, prior to determining the Capital Programme provision for 2009/2010.

274. REPLACEMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH SYSTEM (Appendix F)
[Wards Affected: N/A]

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).]

RESOLVED that

275. THE CHILDREN ACT 2004 AND THE SURREY CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE'S PLAN: IMPLICATIONS FOR WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL (Appendix I)
[Wards Affected: All]

RESOLVED that

276. SITE AT KINGS ROAD INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, HASLEMERE (Appendix K)
[Ward Affected: Haslemere Critchmere and Shottermill]

RESOLVED that

1. the principle of providing start-up units on the area leased by Waverley Borough Council at Kings Road Industrial Estate, Haslemere, be changed to providing either commercial or industrial use; and

2. the Property and Development Manager be authorised to seek a tenant for the site and agree terms and conditions for a sublease.

277. DECRIMINALISED PARKING ENFORCEMENT (Agenda Item 16)
[Wards Affected: All]

The Executive received an oral information report on the current position regarding Decriminalised Parking Enforcement in the Borough under Agenda Item 4, Rolling Programme. It was pleased to note that officers had now concluded discussions and agreed terms with Surrey County Council for Waverley to take on the enforcement function. However, the Executive was advised that Surrey Police had made the current traffic wardens redundant and agreed to support the efforts of officers to agree interim enforcement measures with Surrey Police and Surrey County Council.

278. HOUSING DEVELOPMENT PLANNING DOCUMENT (Agenda Item 17)
[Wards Affected: All]

This item was deferred to a future meeting and the Executive agreed to hold a special meeting on 18th April to follow on from the Joint Community and Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on this issue.

279. EXTRA CARE SHELTERED HOUSING STRATEGY (Appendix M)
[Wards Affected: All]

RESOLVED that the Extra Care Sheltered Housing Strategy be endorsed.

280. PROPOSAL TO DISPOSE OF TWO DWELLING HOUSES (Appendix N)
[Wards Affected: N/A]

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information).]

RESOLVED that

2. the capital receipt arising from the sales be contributed towards achieving the Decent Homes Standard in the remaining Council housing stock.

281. REPORT OF THE MEMBER/TENANTS' SIG (Appendix O)
[Wards Affected: N/A]

RESOLVED that the report of the Member/Tenants' SIG be noted.

282. BEST VALUE AND LOCAL PERFORMANCE INDICATORS: REVIEW OF WAVERLEY'S PERFORMANCE AT Q3 (OCT-DEC) 2005/2006 (Appendix P)
[Wards Affected: All]

RESOLVED that the information contained within the report be noted.

283. UPGRADE TO COUNCIL'S TIME ATTENDANCE/OFFICE SECURITY SYSTEM (Agenda Item 22)
[Wards Affected: N/A]

This report was deferred until a future meeting.

284. COUNCILLOR TRAINING AND DEVELOPMENT (Appendix R)
[Wards Affected: All]

RESOLVED that the report be referred to the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Committee be asked for suggestions for progressing the Charter, involving all members and for the induction process for members after the 2007 elections.

285. REVIEW OF CHANGES TO THE DEVELOPMENT CONTROL COMMITTEE AND ITS AREA DEVELOPMENT CONTROL SUB-COMMITTEES (Agenda Item 25)
[Wards Affected: All]

RESOLVED that the progress of the new system so far be noted and no changes be made to the membership for the time being.

286. WAVERLEY LEISURE SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP (Agenda Item 26)

RESOLVED that the proposed membership of the Waverley Leisure Special Interest Group be noted, as follows:-

Mr L C Bate, Mr M W Byham, Mr V Duckett, Mr B A Ellis, Mr S D Edge, Mr B Grainger-Jones, Mrs J R Keen, Mr P J Martin, Mr J M Savage and Mr C C E Slyfield.

287. WASTE UPDATE (Appendices T.1 and T.2)
[Wards Affected: All]

The Executive received two information reports from the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee on the New Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy and reporting the progress of the Waste SIG to date.

288. RESTRUCTURING (Agenda Item 28)

RESOLVED that a Special meeting of the Executive be held on 24th April to consider this issue to allow for a report to be made to the Council meeting, which had been rescheduled to 26th April.

289. ACTION TAKEN SINCE LAST MEETING (Agenda Item 30)

The Executive noted the action taken by the Chief Executive since the last meeting of the Executive relating to an extension to the Membership of the Joint Negotiating Committee and a draft Response to the Provisional Proposal for three PCTs for Surrey.

The meeting commenced at 7.00 p.m. and concluded at 9.52 p.m.


Chairman
Comms/exec/2005-06/345