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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 11/12/2007
Minutes of Executive 4.12.07



Executive 103
04.12.07
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL
MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE EXECUTIVE – 4TH DECEMBER 2007

SUBMITTED TO THE COUNCIL MEETING – 11TH DECEMBER 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

Cllr K T Reed was also present at the meeting

129. MINUTES (Agenda Item 2)

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 6th November 2007 were confirmed and signed.

130. DISCLOSURES OF INTEREST (Agenda Item 2)
PART I - RECOMMENDATIONS TO THE COUNCIL

131. SENIOR MANAGEMENT RESTRUCTURING (Agenda item 7; Appendix B)

Information relating to any individual (Paragraph 1)

Information which is likely to reveal the identity of an individual (Paragraph 2); and

Information relating to any consultations or negotiations, or contemplated consultations or negotiations, in connection with any labour relations matters arising between the authority or a Minister of the Crown and employees of, or office-holders under the authority (Paragraph 4).]


131.1 The Chief Executive, in her capacity as the Council’s Head of Paid Service, is empowered by law to bring forward, at such a time as she feels appropriate, a report on the organisation of the authority’s staff (Local Government and Housing Act 1989). Her report set out the proposals for a restructuring of the Council’s senior tiers of management – i.e. Director and Head of Service tiers.

131.2 The proposals contained within the report had been the subject of careful consideration by the Chief Executive since her taking up post in June this year, and were designed with the objective of strengthening Waverley’s ability to provide effective and efficient services, and to meet the policy and strategic challenges facing the authority over the coming months and years. The proposals had been subject to debate by a Special Interest Group. Affected individuals, staff-side and the external auditor had all been consulted on the proposals.

131.3 The Chief Executive recommended that the new senior management structure, as set out within her report, was the most effective organisational means of improving Waverley’s service provision and community leadership roles into the future.

131.4 The Chief Executive’s proposals had been shaped by an important set of guiding principles:

Evolution and natural wastage: the requirement to reduce the Council’s cost base is best met through organic and natural shrinkage. The age profile of the workforce suggests that there is significant scope to examine further cost reductions as individual staff members retire, or leave the organisation to pursue employment elsewhere. Retention of the four serving Directors within the new structure: The restructuring proposals set out below are for a Corporate Management Team comprising the Chief Executive and four Strategic Directors. This structure retains valuable talent within the organisation, is cost-effective, and enhances Waverley’s corporate capacity to meet the crucial strategic and policy challenges facing this Council over the coming months and years – such as the Regional Planning agenda; the imperative to achieve a “2 star” rating for our housing service; the requirement to develop shared services and new two-tier working arrangements, to name but a few. Waverley is at a transition point in its corporate development, following a period of staffing transition. In keeping with the principle of evolution (as outlined above) it is considered that a top management team retaining all four Directors is the most effective and appropriate organisational structure to guide Waverley through the coming period of consolidation and service improvement.

Differentiation between the respective roles of Strategic Directors and Service Heads: Under the proposed new structure, Directors become Strategic Directors. Rather than having a primary role in managing service delivery, Strategic Directors will be charged with leading the implementation of the Council’s corporate vision, and developing cultural change and new ways of working throughout their staff teams. They will take the lead role on important strategic and corporate projects, such as developing shared services with other Districts and / or Surrey County Council; identifying new business opportunities and funding sources for Waverley; implementing strategic corporate priorities such as the Council’s leisure strategy, and policy initiatives, such as Waverley’s response to the Regional planning process. Service Heads will be given devolved operational and financial responsibility for the day-to-day delivery of their service areas.

131.5 This is a new way of working for Waverley, and one which aims to strengthen the Council’s capacity to meet the strategic challenges facing local government, while creating opportunities for staff at Service Head level to grow and develop their skills and talents. Developing new working relationships between Councillors and Service Heads: Waverley has an excellent record of co-operation between Officers and Councillors. This restructuring adds to the opportunities for this, in particular by enhancing the direct role of Service Heads. Councillors will be encouraged, with the full support of the Leader, to communicate with Service Heads as the primary contacts on operational service matters, as well as maintaining their strategic discussions with the Chief Executive and Directors. Portfolio responsibilities remain unchanged, at least until the end of this Council year. Ensuring that priority service areas are adequately staffed: The Chief Executive has identified that the Council’s environmental services (recycling, waste management, street cleansing and grounds maintenance) and housing services require a strengthening of management resource, in order to maintain and enhance service provision in the short to medium term. The restructuring proposals are weighted towards allocating sufficient management expertise into these two priority areas.

Ensuring that Waverley makes best use of available skills and talents within its workforce: Careful consideration has been given to the process of appointments to posts within the new structure. It is proposed that a “slotting-in” approach be used, rather than ring-fenced competition for posts. Many of the posts reflect the evolutionary approach outlined above, and are similar to, but broader than, existing posts. The staff concerned have been consulted to ascertain their skill-sets, and in particular, for staff who meet the “85-year” rule in the near future, their future plans. This approach has allowed consideration to be given to succession planning and continuity issues, while also best utilising the skills and experience of our existing senior staff, while seeking to avoid the potential risks of demotivation and loss of staff which a competitive process would inevitably entail.

131.6 The organisation charts shown as Annexe 1 to this report set out the proposals for the Strategic Director and Service Head structures.

131.7 It is proposed that the Council retain for the time being a structure of Chief Executive and four Strategic Directors, and that within this team of four, the current Director of Finance be designated the official deputy to the Chief Executive. 131.8 All five members of this strategic team (including the Chief Executive) will take responsibility for a department and a team of Service Heads. The Deputy Chief Executive will take on an additional responsibility for ensuring business and service continuity in the event of a major civil emergency, and will deputise for the Chief Executive.

131.9 The five service departments will be designated:

Resources department - combining financial and human resources, and taking corporate responsibility for performance improvement and development. Environment department – reflecting the priority importance of the Council’s waste and street-scene services. This department also takes responsibility for front-line service delivery and locality offices, and for IT and legal services.

Leisure and regulation department – combining the Council’s leisure, recreational and cultural activities and its environmental health, licensing, community safety and building control services.

Housing and community department – linking the Council’s important role in the management and maintenance of its Council housing with the services that deliver community based support to the most vulnerable people within our communities.

Corporate services and planning department – the Chief Executive will head a department which contains the core democratic and public communications services and the planning service (the Chief Executive’s job description, as agreed by Council, requires strategic management of a major public-facing service activity). It is proposed that the Chief Executive be the Returning Officer for the Council, and that the Head of Democratic Services be her deputy.

Principal areas of change

131.10 Planning Services: For the next 12 months, it is proposed that the Head of Planning (who will be the Council’s Chief Planning Officer under these proposals) should focus exclusively on delivering organisational and performance improvements in the development control and enforcement aspects of the service, and in particular, in implementing the Vanguard process improvements, the proposed new decision-making structure for planning, and the new pre-application processes. During this period, the planning policy and heritage services will be managed by the Strategic Director (environment), who will take the lead (on behalf of the Chief Planning Officer) for delivering the crucial next stages of developing the new Core Strategy. This arrangement will be reviewed at the end of the 12 month period. 131.11 Environmental Services: A new Head of Service post is proposed: the Head of Environmental Services. This will enable the Chief Executive to separate the management of environmental health and environmental management (which are currently all within one Service Head’s job remit), and to bring together the management, under one Head of Service, of all the Council’s principal environmental contracts, which have a very high profile in the community. In particular, this proposal will enable renewed focus to be given to managing the Council’s grounds maintenance service.

131.12 Housing Services: The Council’s Housing Services face an Audit Commission Inspection in October 2008. A recent “mock” inspection process revealed the opportunity for improvements in the current service processes, requiring intensive management attention. At the same time, the Council needs to conclude an important and sensitive review of its sheltered housing service, and to undertake a detailed feasibility study into the proposed Special Purpose Vehicle for building new affordable housing. It is proposed, therefore, to task two existing Heads of Service with full-time responsibility for the delivery of these two special projects, and to reorganise the operational delivery of housing strategy and management services under one Head of Service, as set out in Annexe 1.

131.13 IT Services: It is proposed that the operational tasks of development and maintenance of IT systems be merged into the Customer and Office Services portfolio. The current Head of IT Services will become a corporate advisor on Special IT Projects – in particular, the implementation of Electronic Document Management and the introduction of Customer Relationship Management systems.

131.14 It should be noted that the Internal Audit Service within local government entails responsibilities towards both the Council’s “Section 151 Officer” and the Chief Executive. These proposals place the Internal Audit Service within the Resources Department, with the section being directly line-managed by the Section 151 Officer. However, it should be noted that the Internal Audit service has a direct line of reporting and accountability to the Chief Executive, as shown on the structure chart. 131.15 The Council is required to appoint a “Monitoring Officer”, who has a statutory responsibility to ensure the legality of decision-making, and the adherence by all Members to correct standards of conduct in the undertaking of their local authority role. The current Monitoring Officer’s substantive job role becomes redundant as a consequence of these restructuring proposals; therefore it is necessary that the Council appoint a new Monitoring Officer. 131.16 It is proposed that the Head of Internal Audit be designated as Monitoring Officer.

131.17 It is important to note that the senior management restructuring proposals set out in this report are the first stage in an evolutionary process of improving the efficiency and effectiveness of Waverley’s service delivery and community leadership roles. Over time, the needs of the organisation will evolve and change. It is important, therefore, that the Council’s senior management arrangements be kept under regular review. It is proposed that the staffing structure be reviewed again towards the end of 2008, to enable the Council to evaluate whether these proposals have produced the desired improvements in service effectiveness and review whether additional efficiency gains can be realised.

131.18 Waverley’s dedicated, professional and committed workforce is one of the Council’s greatest strengths. This Council values its staff, and seeks to ensure that they have an effective management structure to guide and support them in their valuable work in delivering services to our communities.

131.19 This structure seeks to ensure that Waverley gains the maximum benefit from the skills, talents and expertise of its senior staff members, while focusing additional management resource into priority areas, and supporting Service Heads to develop their skills within a framework of devolved decision-making responsibility. These are important principles in the development of Waverley as a top-class employer.

131.20 The Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered this report at its meeting on 19th November. All Members of the Council were invited to attend the meeting for consideration of this item, and a number of member questions had been addressed in a briefing session with the Chief Executive that had taken place immediately before the meeting started.

131.21 Members sought clarification as to how a Strategic Director would focus their time, and the Chief Executive set out the proposed timetable for adopting the Corporate Plan which was intended to cover the lifetime of the current administration and beyond. This Plan would set out the Council’s vision, aims, objectives and priorities and would identify strategic projects which would be driven by the Directors. It was noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Committees would have an input into devising the Corporate Plan.

131.22 Members also commented on the importance of an appraisal system for all staff and were keen for officers to look at ways in which performance and the success of the restructuring could be monitored and measured in the future. The Committee was supportive of the Chief Executive’s proposals and wished to commend them to the Executive, along with a recommendation that the Executive should select a small number of key indicators to measure success in improving the Council’s performance as a result of the restructuring.

131.23 The Executive endorsed with appreciation the observations made by the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee regarding the importance of appraisals for all staff and agreed that consideration should be given to suitable performance management indicators to monitor the success of the implementation of the restructuring for the first 12 months.

131.24 There are both financial and legal implications arising from this report. The current year’s budget already includes a saving of 70,000, which resulted from the Council’s restructuring measures approved in April 2006. The restructure proposals included in this report will deliver a further annual net saving estimated at 122,000. It is estimated that this saving will impact on the Council’s main accounts as follows:

FundEstimated full year saving
General Fund
77,000
Housing Revenue Account
14,000
Capital Schemes
31,000
Total
122,000

131.25 The precise impact on the various accounts is subject to staff time allocations being refined to reflect new duties and responsibilities. A detailed breakdown of the costs and savings directly associated with these restructure proposals is included at (Exempt) Annexe 2.

131.26 Most of the staff changes arising from the restructure proposals will take effect from 1st January 2008. It is likely that a saving will occur in 2007-2008 but until the precise timing and details of changes to each individual has been agreed, it is difficult to estimate the value of this saving. It is proposed that any saving will contribute towards the vacancy target.

131.27 There are other services that the Chief Executive is looking to strengthen, such as planning and civil emergency response. Any resource implications in these areas do not arise as a direct result of the restructuring and separate reports will be made to Members through the budget process as appropriate.

131.28 As set out earlier in the report, the restructure proposals result in the redundancy of one existing staff post. (Exempt) Annexe 3 gives details of the reasons for this redundancy; (Exempt) Annexe 2 gives the financial implications, including details of the one-off costs; (Exempt) Annexe 4 explains the finances in more detail. It is proposed that the one-off costs of the restructure should be met in the first instance from the Revenue Reserve Fund and offset by any revenue saving achieved on the General Fund in 2007-08.

131.29 The Executive accordingly

RECOMMENDS that

Paul Wenham – Deputy Chief Executive (S151) Officer
Stephen Thwaites – Strategic Director (Environment)
Peter Maudsley – Strategic Director (Leisure and Regulation)
David January – Strategic Director (Housing and Community);
Human Resources/Training Officer
Partnerships Officer
Head of Environmental Services;


Background Papers (CEx)

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

132. EAST STREET DEVELOPMENT, FARNHAM (Agenda Item 8; Appendix C)

132.1 Members considered a report on the outcome of negotiations on a further Deed of Variation to the Conditional Contract, as authorised by the Council on 16th October 2007.

132.2 At a Special Executive meeting held on 8th October 2007, Members considered a request from CNS for Landowner Sanction to a further revised scheme so that the Developer could work up and submit a planning application as soon as possible.

132.3 Members will recall that the last scheme that had been granted Landowner Sanction was now the subject of a planning appeal on the grounds of non-determination. The scheme considered on 8th October followed negotiation on the part of the Council in an effort to secure a scheme more in-keeping with the wishes of the residents of Farnham. The intention of CNS is to secure a planning permission for the latest scheme before the appeal on the earlier scheme is heard, thus enabling it to be withdrawn.

132.4 The Council meeting on 16th October resolved that:-

1. Landowner sanction on the revised scheme be granted, subject to satisfactory agreement of the financial and other outstanding matters; 2. CNS be requested to work up and submit a planning application for the revised scheme as soon as possible; and 3. Officers be authorised to negotiate a further Deed of Variation to the Contract and report back to the Council in December with the proposed terms.

132.5 Since that time your Officers and Consultants have been in negotiation with CNS over the required variations to the Development Agreement and, in particular, a new “Minimum Land Value”. The latter is reported in (Exempt) Annexe 5 to these minutes, and, in summary, the other variations are:-

a. as the Development is now to be developed in a single phase, reference to separate “phases” has been removed. There are, however, of necessity, references to separate “elements” within the scheme.
132.6 A draft financial annexe was tabled in (Exempt) Session at the meeting for members’ information. Further work is being undertaken and officers will bring forward a more detailed report to the Special Meeting of the Executive scheduled for 10th December at 5.30 p.m. when details should have been finalised with the developer and necessary reports have been received from Waverley’s advisors.

132.7 Subject to satisfactory achievement of the minimum land value, the Executive is minded to

RECOMMEND that

Background Papers (DoPD)

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

133. PROPOSAL FOR THE INTRODUCTION OF AREA PLANNING COMMITTEES (Agenda Item 9; Appendix D)

133.1 The Council pledged to review the current Development Management Committee system with the aim of improving local Member involvement in decision-making. This report sets out a proposal for the creation of four Area Planning Committees and the retention of a Joint Planning Committee to replace the current system.


133.2 The proposals generate an additional commitment to ten evening meetings per year over and above the existing arrangements. Whilst this will place additional burdens on staffing resources it is not clear at this stage what the precise demands will be. It is recommended that the new scheme be piloted for nine months with a view to teasing this issue out. In particular, it is considered that the significant additional work will fall on the management of the meetings themselves including public speaking, where it is anticipated that staff will have to meet and greet people during the first of the evening meetings and in advance of the start of the second.

133.3 There is likely to be a significant increase in the work of managing the public speaking process prior to the meetings to ensure that the public are properly informed about the relevant start time for the meetings.

133.4 It is suggested that if additional resources are required as a result of the changes then this should be discussed with the Portfolio Holders for Planning and Resources as those requirements are identified. As an initial estimate, it is likely to need additional resources in Democratic Services of half a post, at an approximate cost of 20,000 in a full year.

133.5 Returning to an area-based system increases the risk of local factors distorting the administration of National and Borough wide policies. To avoid such risks attention needs to be given to the numbers of Members on each committee, to further training of Members in the administration of the planning system and the availability of legal advice to Committees when there is a risk of making unreasonable decisions. A review of decisions, particularly those tested on appeal will be important in monitoring decision making.

Proposal

133.6 There would be four Area Planning Committees placed within two broader groupings of an Eastern and Western configuration for the purposes of managing evening meetings. The proposal is therefore to have the following groupings (see also Annexe 6):

Eastern Group (Total: 24 members)

Western Group (Total 24 members)

133.7 The proposed delegated powers for the new Committees are attached at Annexe 7.


133.8 This gives a total of 48 members involved in planning as opposed to 45 with the old Area Sub-Committees and 44 with the two Development Management Committees. The geographic grouping should ensure equality of workload between the two groups, and an equal mix of urban and rural. If there are insufficient members from each committee area wishing to serve, members from the other committee area in the Group will make up the numbers, although members will not be allowed to serve on both committees (with the exception of the Chairman and Vice-Chairman - see paragraph 133.9), and members from one Group will not be allowed to serve on a Committee in the other Group.

133.9 Each Group will elect a Chairman and Vice-Chairman from the total membership of the group to oversee both committees; the Chairman from one of the Area Committees and the Vice-Chairman from the other.

133.10 The Executive at its last meeting agreed to recommend that Members of the Area Planning Committees should complete training in material planning considerations and enforcement before making decisions on the new Committees. This has now been arranged and will take place on Wednesday 19th December 2007.

133.11 There will be no referral of applications determined at Area Planning Committees to the Joint Planning Committee or to Full Council of any application.

133.12 Groups would meet at four weekly intervals, with at least a two-week gap between their meetings. A proposed timetable of meetings is attached at Annexe 8.

133.13 It is proposed that the first meeting should commence at 6.00pm to ensure that the second meeting commences at a reasonable time. When the agendas are being prepared, Group chairmen and vice-chairmen will decide on the earliest start time of their second committees to meet, taking into account the level of business for the first committee. The aim is for the second committee meeting to have a target start time of 7.15 p.m., or at the conclusion of the first meeting which is likely to have the fewer items. It would not be possible to bring forward the time of the second meeting before its scheduled start time without possibly compromising public speaking. Chairmen could exercise discretion about the order of the agenda where members have advised that they have difficulty in getting to a meeting starting at 6.00 pm.

133.14 Committees from within the same Group should combine their site visits on the same day to minimise travel and officer time.

133.15 For major applications, as determined by the Chief Executive in consultation with the Head of Planning and the Chairmen of the two Groups, the four Committees will combine to form one Joint Planning Management Committee, as at present.

133.16 These Groups and constituent Committees will meet for 9 months, starting in January 2008, after which a review will be undertaken to see if there is any need for further change. All meetings will be at Godalming, which is the only location with satisfactory facilities for public speaking and presentation of images and plans. Enforcement quarterly reports will be reported to each Committee for the cases in its area.

133.17 Under the current constitution there is a commitment to consult the Town and Parish Councils with regard to proposed changes to the Committee structure. They were consulted at the Town and Parishes meeting on 3rd December and commended the proposed area based structure.

133.18 The Executive accordingly


RECOMMENDS that

Background Papers (DoPD)

134. LICENSING ACT 2003 - PUBLIC CONSULTATION ON REVIEW OF THE COUNCIL’S STATEMENT OF LICENSING POLICY (Agenda Item 13; Appendix H)

134.1 The existing Statement of Licensing Policy was approved by the Council in December 2004, following a period of public consultation. It has been a key document during the transfer of licensing functions from the Magistrates Court to the Council as ‘Licensing Authority’. However, the legislation obliges licensing authorities to review their licensing policies on a three-year cycle.

134.2 A copy of the revised Statement of Licensing Policy, incorporating the changes proposed (1) by the Responsible Authorities at the initial stage, (2) amendments from officers to reflect the revised Government Guidance issued on 28th June 2007, and (3) amendments recommended by officers in response to the consultation responses, is attached at Annexe 9.

134.3 The consultation has been by a written process to all Responsible Authorities, bodies representing existing licence holders, representatives of registered clubs, businesses and residents in the Borough, Town and Parish Councils, others who have expressed interest, and via the Waverley web site. There have been some 14 written responses to the consultation. Of these, 6 have come from Responsible Authorities, 3 have come from national associations and company representatives, none from local residents and 3 from parish councils. Several letters of ‘no comment’ have been submitted.

134.4 The letters of representation received during this review, together with officer comments on these and proposals for change, where appropriate, are available to view in the Members Room should councillors wish to see them.


134.5 Surrey Police have commented that they are pleased with the way the Act was implemented within Waverley, and have highlighted how some notable successes have been achieved in relation to licensed premises in the Borough. Most importantly, the Police have confirmed that they do not see any need for the Council to consider introducing a special policy in respect of ‘cumulative impact’, but that they would like references to the need to keep the position on this under review retained within the Policy.

134.6 The possible legal implications and further legal advice addressing some of the comments made in the representations, are available to view in the Members’ Room should councillors wish to see them. The Council's Statement of Licensing Policy is a key framework within which the Council considers applications. This is also made up of the four licensing objectives detailed in the Act, as set out below, and guidance issued by the Secretary of State for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) under Section 182. This guidance has recently been revised and reissued. Officers have proposed amendments to the Policy where appropriate in the light of the revised guidance. The four Licensing Objectives are listed below:-

Prevention of Crime and Disorder
Public Safety
Prevention of Nuisance
Protection of Children from Harm.

134.7 Alcohol related crime and anti-social behaviour was a significant problem in parts of the Borough before the introduction of the new legislation. As a result, Surrey Police has worked in partnership with Waverley to ensure that the potential for extended licensing hours did not make this situation worse. The Council has used its powers as Licensing Authority to pursue two of the key licensing objectives of preventing crime and disorder and preventing public nuisance, working in close conjunction with its partners under these Licensing Objectives, namely Surrey Police and the Environmental Health Section. This close working has been via a two- or three-pronged approach, as needed, which has proved very effective. The Licensing Enforcement Officer’s input has been used as an added tool, in that he is removed from the responsible authorities and can therefore have an independent and added impact where problems arise in licensed premises.

134.8 The Council has agreed a Licensing Enforcement Protocol with Surrey Police, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, Environmental Health and Surrey Trading Standards, whereby enforcement activity is targeted and its results monitored. All agencies, and the Town Councils, are invited to meet monthly, as the Town Centre Disorder Group (TCDG), in order to review any problems arising during the previous month. This meeting is co-ordinated by the Police and led by the Borough Inspector. Reports from the public are shared at meetings of the Group. A “traffic lights” priority system is then agreed to target enforcement resources.

134.9 The result has been a very focused partnership-working approach, which has also involved working with licensees through the four Pubwatch schemes in the Borough. Information gathering to measure the impact of the legislation was enhanced, and evidence was reviewed monthly at meetings of the TCDG of problems related to alcohol. Unfortunately, because of changes to the way information has been recorded and to other approaches to enforcement by the Police, it is not possible to compare figures over the full three-year period since introduction of the new law. However, Environmental Health has produced figures for noise nuisance for this period, and these were attached to their consultation response. The national media has drawn attention to the impact on accident and emergency (A & E) unit workloads, but it has not been possible to produce any meaningful information relating to the local A & E units. National data has shown that Waverley are of the lowest rates of alcohol related and health problems. The legislation has also enabled the Council to take a co-ordinated view of the impact of all of the licensed activities, such as late night refreshment and this has contributed to reducing crime and nuisance in town centres. This is closely monitored at the TCDG.

134.10 During the transitional period from February to November 2005, all premises and people acting as designated premises supervisors needed to obtain new licences, both personal and premises licences. Processing these and inspecting premises posed a major challenge. The legislation went ‘live’ on 24th November 2005. To date around 700 personal licences, and around 490 premises licences have been issued in Waverley, along with a continuing succession of variations to licences, premises supervisors and transfers of licences (ownership issues). Around 1100 temporary event notices (TENs) have been dealt with since introduction of the legislation in November 2005, with an average now of around 550 - 600 TENs a year.

134.11. Since 24th November 2005, four appeals have been lodged at the Magistrates’ Court against decisions of the various Licensing Sub-Committees:-

House of Blues, Godalming – Appeal against decision to grant variation application subject to conditions and restricted hours – Appeal allowed The Plough, Farnham – Appeal against refusal to extend hours and remove embedded restrictions – Appeal withdrawn Bramley Social Club – Appeal against decision to attach certain condition to a Club Premises Certificate – Parties agreed to amend conditions by consent. Farncombe Progressive Club – Appeal against revocation of Club Premises Certificate following Police review – Appeal dismissed.

134.12. The Government has stated that the licence fees income received should cover all of the Council’s costs, including the consultation exercise. This is a general principle for all licensing although it is rarely achieved. The Council’s budget book shows that the Council recovers only around 75% of its Licensing Act 2003 costs from the fee structure. The income and expenditure issue is looked at during budget consideration in the autumn of each year.

134.13 The Human Rights Act 1998 incorporated into English law the protection of human rights enshrined in the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). The Council must have regard to the human rights of individuals affected by its decisions. Although there are no direct implications in this report, the Council will have regard to the following matters in considering applications for licences under the Licensing Act 2003.

134.14 Article 1 of the First Protocol of the ECHR provides for the protection of private property and possessions. In addition to Article 1 of the First Protocol, the Council must comply with the principles of Article 6, which provides for the right to a fair hearing in determining civil rights and obligations. This necessitates a fair and public hearing undertaken within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. In providing for determination of licensing matters by a local authority the legislation also provides for appeal to the magistrates’ court, so that there is access to an independent and impartial tribunal and a public hearing.


134.15 Article 8 of the Convention says that everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence. Accordingly, when making decisions on the grant of licences, the Council (the Committee) will consider representations on the effect of businesses on the amenities of residents living in the vicinity of premises which benefit from the licences.

134.16 The Licensing and Regulatory Committee considered the comments on the Statement of Licensing Policy, which was ultimately set by the Council as part of the Policy Framework on the recommendation of the Executive. The activity under the Policy is the remit of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee and its Licensing Act Sub-Committees. The Committee noted that the Council recovered only around 75% of its Licensing Act 2003 costs from the fee structure and resolved that representation be made to the Government to increase fees to enable Licensing Authorities to recover 100% of their costs.

134.17 The Committee noted the comment from Waverley’s Environmental Health Department, as a Responsible Authority under the Act, regarding the implications of the Smoke Free Legislation on licensed premises in respect of nuisance and public order issues. Members acknowledged the conflict between the Licensing and Smoke Free Legislation and resolved that representation be made to the Government to address this problem.

134.18 The Committee considered the proposed amendments to the Statement of Licensing Policy and agreed some points of clarification and minor amendments. It also asked that the Table of Delegation be included in the revised Policy to help to make the process more transparent for applicants.

134.19 The Executive endorsed the revised policy and

RECOMMENDS that

Background Papers (CEx)

Waverley’s Statement of Licensing Policy and representations received in response to the consultation.

135. WYATT’S CLOSE, GODALMING (Agenda Item 15; Appendix J)

135.1 The Worshipful Company of Carpenters is the corporate trustee of Wyatt’s Almshouses in Godalming. The Almshouse Trust owns a historic listed building comprising flats and a small chapel. The flats are let to persons in necessitous circumstances who have a connection to the ancient parishes in and around Godalming viz: Busbridge, Compton, Dunsfold, Farncombe, Godalming, Hambledon, and Puttenham.

135.2 Wyatt’s Close (location plan attached at Annexe 10) comprises ancient Almshouses in the central block, which is managed directly by the Carpenters’ Company. Around this Godalming Town Council (as predecessor housing authority to Waverley) built 32 bungalows for the elderly on land leased from the Almshouse Trust.


135.3 The lease for the land on which the bungalows are built expires in 2055 and there is an express provision within the lease that the lessee cannot assign any of the properties. The Clerk to the Company has suggested that the Company would be interested in accepting a surrender of the lease of Wyatt’s Close with a view to the bungalows becoming part of the Almshouse complex so that the whole of the property would provide housing for those in need under the principles of Richard Wyatt’s bequest – his trust being the freehold owners of the whole of Wyatt’s Close.

135.4 The bungalows at Wyatt’s Close are one-bedroom properties and very compact. Indeed, when they were originally built each comprised: bedsitting-room, kitchen and bathroom. However, sometime later a partition wall was constructed in the middle of the bedsitting-room to create a separate sitting room and bedroom – both of which are small. Because they are so small the Council can only let them to single people and not to couples.

135.5 In terms of housing stock, the HRA has a relatively large portfolio of one-bedroom properties in the Godalming/Farncombe area; the stock profile is:

Bedroom number1-bedroom2-bedroom3-bedroom3+-bedroomsTOTAL
No of Properties
*382
381
334
3
1100

*NB of the 1-bedroom properties 67 are flats in sheltered housing; 136 are ‘community warden’ schemes designated for older people (including Wyatt’s Close); and 179 are general needs accommodation.

135.6 The bungalows at Wyatt’s Close are structurally sound and were re-roofed in 2004. Most need to have their kitchens and bathrooms replaced and, ideally, the windows also need to be replaced. They do not meet the Government’s Decent Homes Standard. With regard to the windows, because of their location adjacent to an important Grade I listed building, new windows would have to be in-keeping with their surroundings and would need to be replaced with bespoke windows in wood or metal (not UPVC) and this would be potentially costly. Given the financial constraints on the HRA, it is unlikely that any of these desirable works will be undertaken in the foreseeable future by the Council. In order to bring the 32 bungalows up to the Decent Homes Standard by 2010, some 200,000 needs to be spent on them – which is not readily available.

135.7 There are attractions in the proposal from the Carpenter’s Company viz:

the Carpenter’s Company is keen to secure the future of the whole site and would intend to continue to provide affordable housing for local people under the terms of the Almshouse Trust; the Council would – as it has in the past – be able to nominate people in need who have a local connection to Godalming to the Almshouse Trust; the Council’s HRA would be relieved of the future maintenance and improvement costs associated with these properties; the bungalows are very small indeed, and many of the older people on the Council’s Housing Needs Register need ground-floor accommodation that has more space in order to accommodate wheelchairs, bathroom and bedroom hoists; and circulation space. a transfer to the Carpenter’s Company would give rise to a modest capital receipt, which could then be reinvested in the Council’ s retained housing stock.

135.8 Given the terms of the lease, the Council has relatively few options in relation to Wyatts Close. The Council would not be able sell the properties on the open market, even if it wished to; and cannot assign the lease to another housing provider. There appear to be only two options:
ii. work in partnership with the Carpenters’ Company to transfer properties to them, as and when they become vacant.

135.9 Should the Council approve the disposal of the bungalows at Wyatt’s Close, the following would apply:

the area occupied by each property would be surrendered to the Almshouse Trust;
each property will be transferred when vacant;
every property surrendered would continue to be let by the Almshouse Trust to people in housing need and at an affordable rent, in accordance with the Almshouse Trust Deed;
Waverley would be given the opportunity to nominate potential residents (though in line with the objects of the Almshouse trust) and the vacancies would be advertised on the Council’s Choice Based Lettings system;
that each party would bear its own legal costs;
the valuation of the properties would take the above into account, along with the length of the remaining lease.

135.10 As this proposal is in the form of a ‘Trickle Transfer’ namely:

i. to a charitable Almshouse Trust (a social landlord) registered with the Charity Commission;
ii. the properties would continue to be let to people in housing need;
iii. rents would be set at an ‘affordable’ level,
iv. the Council would have nomination rights to the dwellings; and
v. the dwellings are on land leased by the Almshouse Trust which expires in 48 years time,

the Council cannot therefore expect to achieve an open market value of the properties. It can, however, expect to receive a modest capital receipt, which takes the above factors into account.

135.11 The disadvantage is that such a transfer would result in a loss of income to the HRA over time. Taking into account the loss of rental income together with reductions in the cost of negative subsidy and depreciation charges, the net loss of income at current levels would be some 56,000 annually (in respect of the 32 properties). Of course, this loss of income would be spread over a number of years, as and when properties are transferred.

135.12 The advantages of transfer are that:

the Council would be relieved of the responsibility of the future maintenance and improvement of these homes;
the properties would be improved and maintained by Wyatt’s Almshouse;
the homes would be retained as social affordable housing for local residents; and
the Council would receive a capital receipt for each property, when transferred.

135.13 As Wyatt’s Almshouse Trust is not a registered social landlord, it is likely that consent from the Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG) will be required for such a proposal. However, the Council can make a cogent case for this initiative, and consent is likely to be forthcoming, particularly as there will be no loss of housing in the affordable rented sector – simply a change of landlord, which would occur at the expiry of the lease in any event.

135.14 Given the very particular circumstances surrounding Wyatt’s Close officers believe the opportunity to transfer the Council’s leased bungalows to the Carpenter’s Company should be actively pursued. This is a reputable long-standing organisation, which owns the freehold and wishes to continue to use the site for affordable housing. As an ancient city livery company, The Worshipful Company of Carpenters, has recourse to assets and funds, which it could invest in the Wyatt’s Almshouse estate, that are not available to the Council.

135.15 The Executive accordingly

RECOMMENDS that

Background Papers (DoH)

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

136. FINANCIAL STRATEGY 2008/2009 - 2011/2012 (Agenda Item 10; Appendices E.1 - E.5)

136.1 Draft General Fund Revenue Estimates 2008/2009

The Executive gave further consideration to the General Fund Budget for 2008/2009 for its meeting on 8th January 2008 and agreed that the Overview and Scrutiny Committees be asked to give consideration to the detailed General Fund Budget papers for 2008/2009 and identify spending priorities and any areas for savings.


136.2 Draft General Fund Capital Programme 2008/2008

The Executive gave initial consideration to the draft Capital Programme for General Fund services and agreed that the Overview and Scrutiny Committees be asked to give consideration to the draft programme at their meetings in January.

136.3 Housing Revenue Account - Draft Capital Programme 2008/2009

The Executive gave initial consideration to the draft 2008/2009 HRA Capital Programme and agreed that the Overview and Scrutiny Committees be asked to give consideration to the draft programme at its meeting in January.

136.4 Housing Revenue Account - Draft Revenue Estimates 2008/2009

The Executive agreed that

136.5 Setting of Council Tax Base 2008/2009

137. SURREY STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP REVIEW AND LOCAL AREA AGREEMENT (Agenda Item 20; Appendix O)

137.1 The Executive had a detailed discussion about the 33 priorities set out in the report and supported them as the most important issues facing the Borough. Of the 33, the Executive agreed that the following 15 were particularly relevant to Waverley residents (not in priority order):

1Improving educational achievement, training and employment outcomes for vulnerable children and young people.
7Securing things to do and places to go for children & young people
9Make healthy choices easier to reduce preventable causes of ill health and death
9.1 Smoking
9.2 Obesity
9.3 Substance misuse/alcohol
9.4 Sexual health
10Promoting independence: preventing people from becoming dependent on care services in particular those in at-risk groups, for example
10.1 Carers
10.2 Vulnerable adults
10.3 People with disabilities
10.4 People in supported accommodation
15Public and private sectors working together to deliver housing (including affordable, family accommodation, homes suitable for the elderly and first time buyers and other groups most in need within the community) with supporting infrastructure to deliver sustainable economically vibrant communities.
16Increase accommodation and support for the following target groups

16.1 Young people (who are particularly vulnerable to loss of tenancies when living alone for the first time)
16.2 Supported accommodation to assisting homeless people with complex needs, such as mental health issues, substance abuse and an offending history.
17Tackle congestion to limit delays and other consequences for road safety, economy, environment and health, especially by increasing levels of investment in and use of public transport
19Improve condition of roads and footpaths
21Spatial planning to deliver zero or low carbon developments to provide sustainable growth of housing and the economy.
23Increase storm water capacity and sustainable urban drainage to mitigate flood risks and to improve energy conservation and biodiversity
25Reduce domestic and business waste and increase levels of domestic and commercial recycling
26Improve community engagement and participation to ensure community needs are addressed and to build confidence in the criminal justice system.
27Reduce crime and anti-social behaviour, particularly repeat victimisation of vulnerable people so people are safe and feel safe in their community

27.1 Reduce the harm caused by alcohol and substance misuse
27.2 Reduce re-offending especially by prolific and priority offenders
27.3 Early intervention to prevent first-time entrants to the youth justice system and for persistent youth offenders at risk of becoming prolific adult offenders
27.4 Reduce serious accidents on the roads to address a significant preventable cause of ill health and death and reduce the impact on emergency services..
27.5 Implement the county strategy to tackle and reduce domestic abuse
27.6 Reduce levels of business crime and costs to the economy.
29Look after Surrey’s buildings, countryside, heritage and knowledge to protect what citizens think is distinctive and important about the county.
33Increase participation in community, creative, cultural (including arts and sport) and informal learning activities especially for currently under represented groups.

137.2 The Executive therefore requested that the 15 priorities should be forwarded to the Surrey Strategic Partnership as Waverley Borough Council’s shortlist of recommended subjects to be addressed by the partnership.

137.3 The Executive also

RESOLVED that

[NB. The Council will be invited to adopt the LAA and Corporate Plan priorities that are of Strategic Importance to Waverley at the February Council meeting].

Part III – Brief Summaries of Other Matters Dealt With

138. FOUR-MONTH ROLLING PROGRAMME (Agenda Item 6; Appendix A)

139. COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS FUND - GRAFHAM GRANGE FOOTBALL PROJECT (Agenda Item 11; Appendix F)

140. MUSEUM OF FARNHAM GARDEN CLASSROOM (Agenda Item 12; Appendix G)

RESOLVED that

141. EMPTY HOMES STRATEGY (Agenda Item 14; Appendix I)

RESOLVED that the draft Empty Homes Strategy be endorsed.

142. FEES AND CHARGES FOR INFORMATION REQUESTS (Agenda Item 16; Appendix K)

RESOLVED that

Waverley should normally refuse requests that would take time in excess of the “appropriate limit” to prepare;
Where the “appropriate” limit is exceeded, a charge of 25 per hour should be made;
Where the cost of postage, printing and copying is below 10, no charge will be made, but where the cost is over 10, the full estimated cost of postage and copying will be charged, and the information will only be sent following receipt of the payment.

143. LOCAL DEVELOPMENT FRAMEWORK - ANNUAL MONITORING REPORT 2006/2007 (Agenda Item 17; Appendix L)

144. PROPOSED PLANNING INFRASTRUCTURE CONTRIBUTIONS SUPPLEMENTARY PLANNING DOCUMENT (SPD) (Agenda Item 18; Appendix M)

RESOLVED that

145. PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT REPORT - QUARTER 2 (JULY - SEPT) 2007/2008 AND SCRUTINY FRAMEWORK (Agenda Item 19; Appendix N)

RESOLVED that

146. SURRENDER AND RENEWAL OF LEASE TO FARNHAM TOWN FOOTBALL CLUB (Agenda Item 21; Appendix P)


147. CORPORATE OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - IN-DEPTH REVIEW OF DISCRETIONARY EXPENDITURE - REQUEST TO ESTABLISH SUB-COMMITTEE (Agenda Item 22)

148. VOLUNTARY AND COMMUNITY SECTOR INFRASTRUCTURE SUPPORT (Agenda Item 23; Appendix Q)

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

149. IMPROVING THE COUNCIL’S WEBSITE - WEBSITE CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM - APPOINTMENT OF SUPPLIER

RESOLVED that the report be noted.

150. EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC (Agenda Item 26)

At 8.34 p.m. it was

RESOLVED that, pursuant to Procedure Rule 20 and in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during these items there would be disclosure to them of exempt information (as defined by Section 100I of the Act) of the description specified in the following paragraphs of the revised Part I of Schedule 12A to the Act, namely:-

Minute Nos. 132, 151 and 153

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

Minute No. 152

151. INSURANCE MONIES - KINGS ROAD INDUSTRIAL ESTATE, HASLEMERE (Agenda Item 27; (Exempt) Appendix R)

152. ROWLAND HOUSE - STAFFING (Agenda Item 28; (Exempt) Appendix S)


153. EAST STREET, FARNHAM

The Executive continued discussion of the proposed further Deed of Variation and in particular the proposed minimum land value, as set out at (Exempt) Annexe 5.
The meeting commenced at 6.45 p.m. and concluded at 9.36 p.m.



Chairman
Comms/exec/2007-08/195