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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 11/07/2006
East Street - Progress Report Update



APPENDIX F.1
(This updates the previously
circulated Appendix F)
Waverley Borough Council

Executive - 11th july 2006
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Title:
East Street – Progress Report Update
[Wards Affected: Farnham Wards]

Note pursuant to Section 100B(5) of the Local Government Act 1972

Annexes to this report contain exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded during the item to which the report relates, as specified in Paragraph 3 of Part I of the revised Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, viz:-
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Summary and Purpose

The purpose of this report is to report to bring together the range of reports back to members in accordance with the Council resolution of 17th May 2006, and to enable the Executive to recommend to the Council on any variations to the project to reflect changing circumstances.
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Environmental Implications

The regeneration of the East Street area of Farnham will significantly improve the environment in and around this important town centre site. The project will follow environmental best practice in the design and construction processes.

Social/Community Implications

The proposed East Street scheme is a mixed development with many new and enhanced community facilities. The development will have significant social benefits in Farnham.

E-Government Implications

There are no direct e-government implications associated with this report.

Resource and Legal Implications

The East Street regeneration scheme has significant implications on Waverley’s finances and staff resources. As the scheme develops and the discussions continue with Crest Nicholson, the financial appraisal will be updated, including the potential deductions from the capital receipt. The updated position will be reported to Members later in the year. There are also legal implications referred to which relate to the conditional contract.
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Introduction

1. On 17th May 2006, the Council resolved to grant Landowner Sanction to a revised scheme for the regeneration of the East Street area. A copy of the [amended] resolution is attached as Annexe 1. Officers were requested to report back to this cycle of meetings on a range of issues including: an updated project programme, options for the Bowls Club (see Item 9) and the Brightwell Gostrey Centre (see new Item 9A), the level of current car park demand and future provision (reported to the June meeting), and the form in which the planning application for Riverside should be submitted.

Updates

2. Reports on the Bowls Club and the car park provision at Riverside were considered by the Executive at its meeting on 13th June 2006. For the Bowls Club, the Executive agreed on the option to relocate the existing club to a new location and also asked officers to investigate the option of giving notice to the Club members with appropriate compensation being paid. The Executive also asked Officers to investigate opportunities to use the proposed bowls pavilion building for community uses, such as a nursery, and alternative uses for the Bowls Green. A specific report appears elsewhere on this agenda dealing with this issue.

3. For the car park, the Executive agreed on the 13th June that the planning application should be in the form agreed in 2003, i.e. for 300 car park spaces and provision of the replacement Tennis facility.

4. A report on the Brightwell Gostrey Centre was considered by the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 19th June 2006. Members of that Committee recommended that a new Community Centre should be provided in Farnham to replace the existing Gostrey Centre. A specific report appears at Item 9A on this agenda outlining the options for the Executive’s consideration.

4. The Council also required Crest Nicholson Sainsburys to provide an updated programme to include planning and subsequent contractual stages. Attached as (Exempt) Annexes 2 and 3 are the latest programme and explanatory phasing plan. CNS have stressed that this programme is subject to revision as circumstances change and the scheme develops and should be treated as Exempt.

5. In accordance with Council’s instruction, Officers and Consultants have begun negotiations on contractual matters and a report on the outcome will be submitted to a subsequent meeting of Executive.

6. A final meeting of the Development Control Consultative Forum was held on 21st June 2006. The notes of the meeting are available at: http://www.waverley.gov.uk/devcontrol/forum.asp

7. Also in accordance with Council instruction, an appropriate contractual commitment regarding completion of improvements to the South Street frontage of Sainsburys has been requested. The Council's consultant lawyers are currently working on this.

8. An interim progress report was presented to the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny on 3rd July 2006. Their comments were:-

Other Matters

Public Art

9. The Cobbett Clock is an identified “required element” within the scheme.

10. The kinetic artist Michael Chaikin was selected after a lengthy and carefully structured competition process, in which the brief specified that the feature should be a free-standing clock sculpture with moving parts, illustrating aspects of Farnham's history. The clock was to be unique and create a new feature which would be a focal point and especially attractive to children.

11. When complications arose over the originally selected site in the Woolmead, Waverley was approached by the Trust and it was agreed at that time to include it as a major feature in the East Street redevelopment scheme, and was therefore included in the development brief for the scheme.

12. It is now acknowledged that the cost of the clock has risen very considerably, and whilst in principle there is a need to provide an element of public art within the East Street scheme, there is a consensus that the clock as a single project should not absorb the bulk of the amount allowed for the CNS financial model for public art generally. It has been suggested that it may be possible to consider a scaled down version of the Cobbett Clock along with other elements of commissioned public art. Another option may to be consider the alternative financing of the Clock through public appeal or private donation.

13. The Farnham Public Art Trust support this principle and outlined their views at the recent Development Control Consultative Forum on 21st June 2006. They state “The East Street development offers a remarkable opportunity for public art of all kinds to create a unique sense of place. Themes drawn from Farnham's history and people should be featured. Artists and craftspeople, especially local ones, should be commissioned for a range of projects large and small, and architectural features, ground surfacing and paving, street furniture, lighting and landscaping, should also be included”.

14. Officers would support this proposal and also make the recommendation that in developing alternative public art proposals for the East Street Scheme that the developer establishes a working group to shape the proposals including representatives from the Farnham Public Art Trust, University College of Creative Arts, Advisors specialising in public art from Arts Council England South East and the Council’s Arts Officer.

15. Members are asked whether they wish to consider varying the decision to make the Cobbett Clock a required element of the East Street Scheme to allow for a wider range of public art to be developed with the estimated amount allowed in the CNS model for the Cobbett Clock.

Required Elements

16. Since the granting of landowner sanction for the CNS masterplan at the special meeting on 17th May 2006, a number of elements of the scheme could be proposed for change – subject to the views of the Executive and the Council following the further investigation instructed by the Council. Some of these relate to “required elements”.

17. The conditional contract agreed by the Council in 2003 sets out the required elements as being:-


ELEMENTCURRENT POSITION
Cinema
Cobbett Clock
400 car parking spaces
public conveniences
CAB
Brightwell Gostrey Centre
Bowling Green
Bowling green clubhouse
Retention of Brightwell House
Multi Screen included in masterplan
See paragraphs above
Included in Masterplan
Included in Masterplan
Alternative new premises provided on South Street
See Item 9A
See Item 9
See Item 9
Refurbishment and new use included in masterplan

Legal Implications

18. As suggested by their name these were all intended in the negotiations culminating in the 2003 contract to be integral parts of any scheme. Since that time, circumstances have changed and the Council should now consider whether it is reasonable to vary what are included as required elements.

19. Reflecting the way the contract is expressed [para. 5.3], if the Council no longer requires one of the above items to be provided, it can review and if appropriate vary the “required elements”.

Riverside site

20. Following the Executive meeting on the 13th. June 2006 it was agreed that the necessary documentation be prepared for a Planning Application for the Riverside site. Progress had previously been halted until the landowner sanction had been granted so as to reduce abortive expenditure on the preparation of the scheme.

21. This application will be based on FM Modern Designs drawing No. 5002 rev. B, which shows the tennis pavilion, 5 tennis courts and 300 car parking spaces. This scheme with 300 car parking spaces brings the issue of contamination and flood compensation works very much back into the frame.

22. A meeting was held at the end of June with the Councils’ consultants and Planning Officers in order to discuss the required documentation for this proposed scheme, together with a programme of works.

23. The following topics where discussed; Agree current layout, contamination, further SI, remediation, flood risk assessment, flood compensation, EA consultations, car park levels construction and drainage, traffic impact assessment, highways, Surrey Wildlife Trust, Archaeology, lighting impact study (car park and tennis courts), Environmental Impact Study, and the pre application consultations with Planning.

24. After agreeing the amount of information required for this application, the consultants estimated that the documentation could be collated by the end of September. However this was very much dependant on the duration of the EA consultation, which is key to this scheme.

25. Progress meetings have been set with the consultants and other key players including the Lawn Tennis Association and the Brightwells Tennis Club.

26. Officers are also discussing the merits of asking CNS to submit and project manage the planning application. This is because of the themes that would be common to the East Street scheme – such as flood risk assessment and traffic impact assessment.

27. This then leads on to consideration of how the works are to be procured. Should they be pursued as a separate contract or what would be the costs and benefits of CNS managing the contract? Further reports will follow on these issues.

Resource Implications

28. (a) Required elements

(b) Riverside

Conclusions

29. The Officers have carried out the detailed investigations into key parts of the required elements of the scheme as instructed by Council. The Executive will have given detailed consideration to the evolving situation regarding the Brightwell Bowls Club and the Brightwell Gostrey Centre under Items 9 and 9A above.

30. The Officers conclude that the Council should respond positively to the changing circumstances presented by the conclusions of detailed work on the construction programme. The retention of a flourishing Brightwells Bowls Club on the present site is no longer a realistic option given the length of time that the green will not be available and Officers recommend that the Council now concentrates its efforts on helping fund a new home ground for the club. This will release the green as a public open space for use by the whole community, and offers new possibilities for community use of the site allocated for the club house.

31. The Brightwells Gostrey Centre's aspirations for a new centre that reflects older peoples changing needs and expectations might now be met in the site that had been allocated for the Bowls Pavilion, if additional space could be found to enhance this. This will however need more detailed investigation, and as an interim measure the existing site could continue in use ,subject to minor modifications ,with the current access virtually unchanged. (Officers have had oral assurances from CNS and are pursuing this)

32. The previous concentration on the Cobbett Clock as the focus for public art provision could now be broadened to include a role for young people from the University College of Creative Arts (former SIAD).

33. In conclusion, Officers’ detailed investigations have opened up opportunities for responding to changes in community aspirations and needs, and to speed up the development project on the site and thus achieve the overall regeneration benefits of the East Street project earlier. The required elements no longer reflect the current position, in particular the CAB having been found a suitable new location.

Recommendations

1. the Executive is asked to review the changes in circumstances of some of the key required elements;

2. in the light of this, to decide if it would be appropriate now to recommend to the Council to authorise the Officers to review with CNS the following required elements of the scheme on a case by case basis:-

Cobbett Clock
CAB
Brightwell Gostrey Centre
Bowling Green and Clubhouse

Background Papers

There are no background papers as defined by Section 100D (5) of the Local Government Act 1972.
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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Steve Thwaites Telephone: 01483 523463
E-mail: sthwaites@waverley.gov.uk



Comms/executive/2006-07/092

Annexe 1

Resolution of the Special Executive Committee 17th May 2006 that was agreed by the ensuing Special Council on the same evening – subject to the amendment that items 5 and 7 should be reported back to the 18th July Council cycle of meetings:
(ii) the level of current car park demand and future provision; and