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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 04/09/2007
NEW COMMITTEE ROOM SCHEME



Summary & Purpose
The purpose of this report is to seek approval from the Executive to a scheme to provide a new Committee Room that meets the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and permission to submit a planning application for the building of this new facility.

APPENDIX E
Waverley Borough Council

EXECUTIVE – 4th SEPTEMBER 2007

Title:
NEW COMMITTEE ROOM SCHEME
[Wards Affected: All]

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

(Exempt) Annexe 1 to this report contains 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 the revised Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972, namely;-

Summary and purpose:

The purpose of this report is to seek approval from the Executive to a scheme to provide a new Committee Room that meets the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 and permission to submit a planning application for the building of this new facility.

Environmental implications:

The proposed Committee Room will include energy efficient lighting and be constructed to high levels of thermal insulation and incorporate external measures to reduce solar heat gain.

Social / community implications:

The scheme would provide an accessible venue for public/Committee meetings within the Civic area of the building, in particular for those people with mobility problems.

E-Government implications:

The meeting room would be linked to the Council’s IT network.

Resource and legal implications:

The financial implications for this scheme and estimated costs are set out in the (Exempt) Annexe 1 to this report.

Information/Background

1. The Council’s only Committee Room (Committee Room 1) does not comply with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 on accessibility because to gain access or egress to and from the room it is necessary to navigate a narrow flight of steps.

2. Officers have considered various means of making Committee Room 1 accessible but the layout of the area makes it impossible to provide a fully accessible meeting room. The provision of a lift mechanism with the capacity of handling a motorised wheelchair was considered but such a lift could not be installed in the existing stairwell. It is currently very difficult, if not impossible, for disabled or frail individuals to attend public meetings held in Committee Room 1.

3. As well as the need to provide a public meeting room facility that meets the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act, there is a shortage of meeting room facilities at the Godalming Offices which this scheme would address, in particular the increasing pressures for meeting facilities required for planning related meetings. The proposed scheme would provide a new Committee Room of 42 sq m which is a similar size to Committee Room 1 and would have the capacity for meetings of 25 people. The scheme has been designed to provide a flexible space which would be capable of being used as two separate smaller meeting rooms when needed.

4. The scheme would provide meeting facilities in the appropriate area of the Council’s Central Offices building, within the Civic Suite area, off the Council Chamber Link Corridor. Access to the new Committee Room would be opposite the present First Aid room. There are also security benefits from keeping the Council’s public meeting areas in one part of the offices complex. The scheme makes use of an existing roof void and would also extend over a flat roof area. The flat roof area has reached the end of its serviceable life and will require replacement within the immediate future. The proposed extension of this area would negate the replacement cost of the flat roof covering. The overall footprint of the offices complex will not alter. Plans will be on display at the meeting and the scheme will require planning approval.

5. Existing office accommodation within the offices complex itself is at a premium and therefore the provision of a sizeable meeting room in any other location would further reduce the space available as office accommodation.

6. An outline timetable for the scheme is attached at Annexe 2.

Recommendation

It is recommended that

1. the scheme to provide a new accessible Committee Room be approved; 2. a first resolution in accordance with Regulation 3 of the Town and Country Planning (General) Regulations 1992 be approved to allow a planning application to be submitted for the new Committee Room; and 3. subject to planning approval, the cost of the scheme following the tender exercise be reported back to the Executive for approval.

Background Papers (CEx)

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

CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Roger Standing Telephone: 01483 523221
E-mail: rstanding@waverley.gov.uk
Comms/exec/2007-08/067