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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Council held on 14/10/2003
REPORT TO THE MEETING OF THE COUNCIL ON 14TH OCTOBER 2003



Executive 43
WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 30TH SEPTEMBER 2003

REPORT TO THE MEETING OF THE COUNCIL ON 14TH OCTOBER 2003

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

The following report items contain exempt information by virtue of which the public is likely to be excluded. The information is as specified in those paragraphs of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972 indicated:-

Item DD

Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (other than the authority). (Paragraph 7)

Items DD and EE

Any terms proposed or to be proposed by or to the Authority in the course of negotiations for a contract for the acquisition or disposal of property or the supply of goods or services. (Paragraph 9)

PART I – Reports containing recommendations for decision by the Council

A. FINANCIAL STRATEGY
[Wards Affected: N/A]

A.1 At its meeting on 1st September 2003, the Executive considered the first draft of the Financial Strategy for Waverley. Members were invited to comment on the Strategy at the Finance Seminar on 22nd September 2003 and at the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 23rd September (N.B. some final minor adjustments have been made to figures relating to the General Fund Revenue Reserve Fund since the meeting of the Executive on 30th September).

A.2 The Financial Strategy 2003-2006 at Annexe 1 will be updated in the light of the following significant areas for which there is currently a large degree of uncertainty:-

The Local Government Bill
New Capital Financial Regulations
Prudential Borrowing Guidelines
Government Grant Settlement
Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Subsidy determination
New legislation

A.3 The Strategy draws out the following main issues that the Council will need to focus on:

General Fund Revenue
Priorities v Non-Priorities
Further Government Legislation
Future Council tax increases
Spending on public services in an affluent area
Government Formula Grant likely to be at 'floor' in future settlement
Formula Grant fixed: subsequent gearing of 2:1 means that the percentage council tax increase is twice the percentage increase in expenditure
Transfer of rent rebates from HRA

Housing Revenue Account
Priorities v Non-Priorities
Future rent levels
Funding 'Decent Home' standards
Loss of Government Housing Subsidy
Rent Restructuring
Withdrawal of Supporting People Funding
Future Options Appraisal

Capital Expenditure
Priorities v Non-Priorities
Affordable Housing
Decent Homes
Leisure Provision
Improvements and maintenance of assets
HRA Future Options Appraisal

A.4 At the meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the following points were raised with regard to the Strategy and subsequently endorsed by the Executive:-

i. that the situation with regard to compensatory grants should be clarified as part of the review due to take place in the 2004/2005 budget process;

ii. that a report setting out the government direction in terms of the consultation process regarding council tax should be considered by the November meeting of the Corporate Overview and Scrutiny Committee;

iii. the point should be reinforced that the situation regarding negative subsidy and pooling of surpluses, along with the funding of the supporting people regime, should be monitored and that it was desirable for representations on these matters to be made at this stage; and

iv. that the housing benefits item be taken on board and publicity be arranged in the appropriate mediums, in the autumn, to pass the message to those who may be eligible, that there is council tax benefit available.

A.5 The Executive

RECOMMENDS that

13. the Financial Strategy, attached at Annexe 1, be approved and adopted.

Background Papers (DoF)

Revenue Budget 2003/04
HRA Business Plan 2003/04
Financial Strategy Seminar Slides – October 2002
Capital Investment Strategy
Asset Management Plan
Best Value Performance Plan2003/04
Treasury Management Policy



B. HOUSING STRATEGY FRAMEWORK AND WAVERLEY HOMES HRA BUSINESS PLAN 2004-2009
[Wards Affected: All]

B.1 The Housing Investment Programme (HIP) process has required Local Authorities to submit a Housing Strategy Statement, statistical information and bid to the Government since the late 1970’s.

B.2 Following the introduction of the Single Capital Pot in 2002/03, the Government has required authorities to submit a Housing Strategy Statement and, if the authorities still retain a housing stock, an HRA Business Plan. For the 2002/03 round i.e. 2003/04 submission, the Council updated its 2001/02 Strategy and Business Plan, recognising that in a year’s time i.e. 2003/04 it needed to review and substantially rewrite these documents to respond to Government guidance.

B.3 Further guidance by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) was issued earlier this year, no longer requiring a submission of the Housing Strategy and HRA Business Plan by July each year. Authorities would agree with their Government Office a timetable for submission and discussion to achieve a Business Plan, and Housing Strategy, considered to be ‘fit for purpose’.

B.4 The role of the Government Office of the South East (GOSE) has shifted from ‘critical assessor’ to that of ‘critical friend’ and GOSE this year has assisted authorities to achieve a ‘fit for purpose’ assessment. Authorities who achieve fit for purpose recognition will no longer be required to submit the Housing Strategy and HRA Business Plan to their Government Office annually, as these documents detail a 3-5 year timeframe. Only one local authority in England achieved ‘fit for purpose’ recognition last year.

Housing Strategy

B.5 In the Communities Plan, the Government highlighted its intention to introduce a Local Government Bill substantially modifying local authority finance, and particularly housing finance. The Bill was enacted at the end of September. This was followed by the abolition of Local Authority Social Housing Grant (LA SHG) from April 2003 and a hastily assembled transitional scheme. In addition Regional Housing Boards have been created and Regional Housing Strategies submitted to the ODPM. At the time of writing this report, announcements of transitional LA SHG and Regional Allocations are still awaited.

B.6 At this stage with these uncertainties, officers are unable to formulate a clear and comprehensive Housing Strategy and accordingly a framework is proposed as a basis from which to construct the Strategy.

B.7 The Council adopted a Homelessness Strategy in July which will be incorporated into the full strategy, together with the outcomes of the Financial Strategy review. The HRA Business Plan submission is, however, substantially complete and parts of this can be incorporated into the Strategy.

B.8 The assessment of the Housing Strategy and Business Plan by GOSE last year focused on the lack of information relating to working towards the Decent Homes standard. As is clear from the Waverley Homes HRA Business Plan, the Council has made much progress in addressing this and other landlord issues. Officers will have met with GOSE to discuss the degree to which the Business plan and Technical Appendices met the criteria for ‘fit for purpose’.

Consultation and Option Appraisal

B.9 The Council has to consult with tenants individually and through the Tenants Panel on the draft Business Plan and the associated information. Indeed, much of the information contained in the documents will form part of the input to the options appraisal process.

B.10 The more challenging matter for consultation is that of Housing Strategy and available resources for enabling additional affordable social housing. It would, however, be appropriate to ensure that the wider community is made aware of the challenging environment that the Council is operating in and ensure that the proposed housing service priorities line up with the Community Strategy and other corporate strategies.

B.11 Officers hope that at the November/December round of meetings, the financial uncertainty for 2004/05 will be at least partially resolved by the Council and ODPM and that a full Housing Strategy statement can be considered. It is, therefore, proposed that the Housing Strategy framework and Waverley Homes HRA Business Plan be adopted as Consultation drafts, at this time. The Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 29th September 2003 endorsed the way forward with regard to this matter.

B.12 The Executive

RECOMMENDS that

14. the Waverley Homes HRA Business Plan 2004-2009 be adopted as a consultation draft, subject to the minor points of clarification raised by the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee;

15. the framework for the Housing Strategy be agreed as a basis upon which to draft the Strategy, following which there will be consultation, and the strategy be considered, in full or in part, by the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee in advance of the Executive;

16. officers discuss and consider these documents with GOSE including any amendments and revisions to achieve "fit for purpose" recognition;

17. the wider community be consulted on the proposals contained therein; and

18. officers report back to Committee on these matters.

Background Papers (DoH)

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

C. OPTIONS APPRAISAL 2003 – 2005 – DELIVERY OF DECENT HOMES
[Wards Affected: All]

C.1 The Government issued guidance in late 2000 and in early 2001 requiring local authorities with housing stock to consider decent homes standards for their housing. This guidance was subsequently consolidated into a requirement during the 2002/03 Housing Investment Programme (HIP) process to identify the investment requirements to meet the decent homes standard.

C.2 During February 2003, the ODPM produced the Sustainable Communities Plan which requires all local authorities with housing stock to undertake an options appraisal to meet the decent homes standard. In the same plan the Government highlighted a broad range of legislative changes it intended in respect of local government finance particularly in respect of HRA capital receipts pooling and distribution of HRA surpluses following the movement of the cost of rent rebates to the General Fund.

C.3 The Council, together with other authorities who are debt free, took a leading role to lobby the Government on capital receipts pooling through the Capital Receipts Group. The recently introduced draft regulations indicate that transitional relief will be provided on a reducing basis from April 2004, the proposed introduction date of the new financial regime.

C.4 In June 2003, ODPM issued detailed guidance on its requirements for local authorities to undertake an option appraisal as a means of ensuring delivery of decent homes. This requires local authorities to discuss and agree the process with the ODPM Community Housing Task Force (CHTF) advisor and GOSE. Local Authorities will be assessed by GOSE based on an input from CHTF. Authorities are required to agree a communication strategy and tenant empowerment strategy with the lead CHTF advisor. The output of the option appraisal is signed off by GOSE and CHTF.

Option Appraisal Process

C.5 Officers invited Members, tenants and staff to attend a briefing by the CHTF lead advisor on 15th September on the option appraisal process and requirements. Officers will also have met with GOSE and the CHTF lead advisor to consider and if necessary amend the draft project plan.

C.6 In order to achieve compliance with ODPM guidance, it is proposed to create a Forum/SIG comprising Members, tenants and staff and with key stakeholders as an Advisory Panel to consider the options and report to the Council. This is detailed below.

C.7 There is uncertainty regarding the precise decent homes investment requirement and available resources. The level of resources to be made available for Decent Homes will be decided by Members late in 2003 as part of the review of the Financial Strategy.

C.8 The Council engaged Ridge and Partners to remodel the 1999/2000 Stock Condition Survey data to meet Decent Homes criteria. This survey was undertaken pre-decent homes standard on a 15% sample. The results are detailed in appendices to the HRA Business Plan. This indicates a maximum investment requirement over ten years of some 41m and likely available resources between now and 2010 of some 25m.

C.9 Following the Council’s decision to inject an additional 2.2m into repairs and maintenance to assist in meeting decent homes, it is now anticipated that by January 2004, 25% of the stock will have been re-surveyed. By March 2005, 80% of the stock is intended to be re-surveyed. Clearly, as more information on stock condition is obtained, a more accurate assessment on decent homes investment requirements can be undertaken.


Implementation Issues

C.10 The undertaking of this options appraisal will be extensive and require the Council to consider:-

Arms Length Management Options

Private Finance Initiative

Transfer to a Housing Association

C.11 This process will require consideration of the Council’s wider housing objectives and its future revenue funding position in HRA and General Fund. In considering the options, authorities need to examine whether a common approach for the whole stock or an approach that contains two or more options is appropriate for Waverley. A combined approach is felt by the Government to apply to authorities with larger housing stock with different needs in their stock. The Council’s draft Housing Strategy and HRA Business Plan are key inputs to this process. They are produced as draft consultation documents recognising the importance of wider engagement with tenants and key stakeholders.

Independent Tenants Advisor

C.12 The guidance requires Councils to procure good independent advice for tenants and leaseholders ensuring them a central role in decision making. Waverley’s Tenants’ Panel has invited expressions of interest from appropriate consultancies to tender for this work to be sought on its behalf by the Council. The Tenants’ Panel intend to convene a Tenants’ Conference during November to highlight issues and it is likely that the current budget provision of 15,000 will prove insufficient for these activities in 2003/04 and 2004/05. It is considered that an additional 10,000 will be required this year (2003/04) and provision made for a similar sum for 2004/05.

Financial Appraisal

C.13 The Council will be reviewing its Financial Strategy leading up to the budget in February 2004. External advice on the consideration of the options is being sought from an experienced consultant and this can be contained within this year’s budgets. It is considered that the consultancy proposal be accepted as they have no vested interest in the outcome.

Tenant Participation Officer

C.14 During the reorganisation of the housing service in 2001/02, the post of Tenant Participation Officer was taken off the establishment to achieve overall savings. The separate FSR report on Tenancy Management and Tenancy Involvement outlines the need for a Tenant Participation Officer from a day-to-day service perspective. As the recent guidance outlines, the ODPM requires local authorities not only to engage tenants and leaseholders but further to empower and facilitate involvement and participation.

C.15 The options appraisal process will, as described, rely on extensive tenant involvement in the decision making process. The organisation of meetings, preparation of information and general assistance in the option appraisal process are required in addition to normal housing management tenant involvement. It has been concluded that there is insufficient capacity within the housing management team to undertake these additional requirements. This being the case, it is necessary to appoint a dedicated Tenant Participation Officer to help implement the option appraisal and the proposed improvements in tenant participation arrangements.

Members and Community Involvement

C.16 There are various means by which Members will be involved, namely through the Member/Tenants’ SIG, Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Executive and the Council. At this stage the most appropriate starting point for managing the process would appear to be the Special Interest Group. Mindful of the potential for different perspectives to apply to the consideration of the options, it is suggested that a Housing Forum/SIG to consider the issues would be helpful, reporting to the Executive whilst keeping the Member/Tenants' SIG informed. This has been successfully used by other local authorities. It is considered that the Portfolio Holder, 2 other Council Members, and 3 Tenants’ Panel Members from the SIG be considered for this group.

C.17 The Housing Forum/SIG would comprise equal numbers of Councillors, tenants and staff, i.e. 9 Members, and would consider evidence, opinion and advice and report to the SIG, Overview and Scrutiny, Executive and Council as appropriate during 2004. The Group's preferred option would then be considered, accepted, modified or rejected by the Council. A member of Committee Services staff would be particularly required to support this phase of the process and might need to be allocated solely to this task and there are other staffing implications on the organisation.

C.18 It is essential that staff, directly and indirectly affected, are considered and briefed as the process of option appraisal starts, by means of formal and informal staff briefings of Staffside, service and sectional levels. A core officer project group chaired by the Director of Housing will manage the process, co-opt as required, manage the communication strategy and report to the Chief Officers Group.

C.19 When considering this matter, the Executive agreed that

1. additional HRA budget provision of 10,000 each year for 2003/04 and 2004/05 be agreed;

2. the Member/Tenants’ SIG manage and advise on the Options Appraisal reporting to Overview and Scrutiny, Executive and Council as appropriate;

3. officers report further on terms of reference of the Housing Forum SIG and on the proposed Empowerment and Communication/Strategy to the Member/Tenants’ SIG and Executive;

4. invitations be sought from within the Community organisations specified;

5. the fee proposal for the external financial appraisal be approved for the reasons outlined and Contract Procedure Rules be waived; and

6. officers ensure that staff are briefed on the issues contained in this report.

C.20 The Executive also

RECOMMENDS that

19. the post of Tenant Participation Officer be re-established within existing staff budgets.
Background Papers (DoH)

ODPM Sustainable Communities Plan
ODPM Option Appraisal Guidance

D. SUPPLEMENTARY PLANNING GUIDANCE ON DENSITY AND SIZE OF DWELLINGS: POLICY H4 OF THE WAVERLEY LOCAL PLAN 2002
[Wards Affected: All]

D.1 At its meeting on 21st July 2003, the Executive considered a report recommending that Supplementary Planning Guidance (SPG), for Policy H4 of the Local Plan, proceed to Council for adoption. Rather than agree the SPG then, the Executive referred it to the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee for further examination.

D.2 Since that meeting, the Council has received an appeal decision for a site at “Howberry”, 20 Courts Mount Road, Haslemere. The decision letter gives a useful analysis of the issues that the SPG seeks to address. This report summarises the key points. The opportunity has also been taken to make minor amendments to the SPG to improve its wording. The version for adoption is attached at Annexe 2.

D.3 The SPG was criticised at the Executive meeting for failing to address the concern that residential development within settlements generates extra traffic on local roads. The SPG was seen as an opportunity to prevent this, by avoiding the application of minimum densities in Policy H4 away from town centres. Traffic generation is a frequently cited concern when determining planning applications. The difficulty is that where housing development is acceptable in principle, so Planning Policy Guidance Note 3: Housing (PPG3) and Policy H4 apply, unless there is a genuine planning reason to grant an exception. For the SPG to say that Policy H4 will not be applied away from town centres would be contrary to the Local Plan, the emerging Surrey Structure Plan, and national planning policy. The SPG cannot be used to change policy, and would carry no weight in determining planning applications. The purpose of the SPG is to ensure that Policy H4 is interpreted correctly, consistently applied, and helps prevent inappropriate development.

D.4 Sites within settlements, including those away from town centres, are the Borough’s primary source of housing land. The Council relies on these sites to meet its housing requirements set out in the Surrey Structure Plan. The Local Plan shows the urban areas in white on the Proposals Map, and identifies settlement boundaries for many of the villages.

D.5 Extra traffic on local roads is a likely consequence of development within settlements. However, the existing policy to direct new development to sites within settlements, in preference to green field sites, usually more remote from public transport and services, is considered the more ‘sustainable’ choice. Nevertheless, the Highway Authority assesses development proposals for safety and capacity, and the Borough Council assesses the impact of traffic on amenity. Sometimes road capacity, parking problems, highway safety or impact on amenity, can be a genuine reason for refusal. The SPG refers to this at paragraph 14(iii) 3rd bullet point.

D.6 The Government does not consider the minimum density in PPG3 of 30 dwellings per hectare to be high density, but a minimum needed to avoid low density development which is regarded as ‘unsustainable’. Higher densities (above 50 dwellings per hectare) are encouraged at locations with good accessibility, such as town centres. Higher densities do not imply poor environments, and it is sometimes surprising to discover quite high densities in many of the most attractive built environments. Providing the small dwellings needed in Waverley helps achieve these densities in an acceptable way. Good design is high on the agenda to create attractive places.

D.7 A policy in the Draft Surrey Structure Plan requires zones to be identified around town centres for densities over 50 dwellings per hectare. Outside these areas the minimum density would be 30 dph. If this policy is still in the Structure Plan when it is adopted, the zoning will be done locally as part of a ‘Local Development Framework’.

The “Howberry” Appeal Decision

D.8 “Howberry” is a single dwelling in a substantial plot on Courts Mount Road, Haslemere, within the built up area. Three separate outline applications were lodged to redevelop the plot with 4 dwellings, 9 dwellings, and 13 dwellings. Officers recommended the scheme for 4 be refused as underdevelopment, and that the schemes for 9 and 13 be permitted. The Southern Area Development Control Sub Committee, and the Development Control Committee, refused all three applications, judging that they were all out of character with the area.

D.9 The Inspector permitted the scheme for 9 dwellings, and refused those for 4 and 13. He concluded that the scheme for 9 was the only one that complied with all of the following factors:

the character and appearance of the area, including the effect of traffic
the living conditions of future and neighbouring residents
highway safety
density requirements.

D.10 The table below summarises the outcome for the different schemes: = acceptable impact / complies with policy
x = unacceptable impact / fails policy

The character and appearance of the area

D.11 The Inspector disagreed with the Committees’ assertion that the area is similar in character to those designated in the Local Plan under Policy BE6 (Low Density Residential Areas). The Inspector concluded that viewed from the street, character is determined by the positioning of buildings, and the presence of hedges, fences and walls, such that the “sizes of many of the plots are not apparent to a passer-by” (paragraph 23). He did not regard the density of the area as a determinant of local character.

D.12 The Inspector reasoned that the development to the rear of the site was “out of sight” and thus had no effect on local character. This is an important point. A view of the proposals in plan form (overhead) might suggest an out-of-character development, but when viewed from public vantage points, the perception is very different. This is a point made at paragraph 14 (iii) of the SPG.

D.13 The scheme for 13 dwellings failed on ‘character’ grounds. The Inspector found that too much development other than the frontage dwelling would be visible from the street (paragraphs 28 and 29). The schemes for 4 and 9 would, he concluded, have a minimal, and acceptable, visual impact. The Inspector considered the likely increase in traffic to be acceptable in terms of amenity, as well as highway safety, even for the 13-dwelling scheme. The Inspector also found that the increase in activity within the site would have no impact on character, particularly given the extent to which the site is screened from public view.

D.14 With regard to the impact on the amenity of neighbours, the only scheme to fail in this regard was the one for 13 houses. The Inspector considered that four gardens backing onto the property at 22/24 Courts Mount Road would create unacceptable noise and disturbance.

D.15 The Inspector assessed the site’s accessibility, aware of the close proximity to bus and rail services, but recognising the steep gradients for pedestrians and cyclists. He considered that a density of 30-50 dwellings would be appropriate. Faced with two schemes that he considered acceptable in all other regards (one for 4 dwellings and one for 9) he could not justify the lower density proposal, which would fail H4.

D.16 The Executive

RECOMMENDS that

20. the Supplementary Planning Guidance on Density and Size of Dwellings, attached at Annexe 2, be approved and adopted.

Background Papers (DoPD)

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

E. LOCAL GOVERNMENT ASSOCIATION GENERAL ASSEMBLY IN DECEMBER – DEADLINE FOR MOTIONS
[Wards Affected: N/A]
E.1 Each year, the Local Government Association (LGA) invites member Councils to submit motions for discussion at its December General Assembly meeting, which this year is to be held in London on 16th December.

E.2 The Executive

RECOMMENDS that

21. the LGA be asked to lobby the Government on Waverley's behalf, to enable Council's to levy such charges as are necessary to cover the actual and associated costs of providing the liquor licensing service, following its transfer to Waverley and other Borough and District Councils from the Magistrates.

Background Papers (CEx)

LGA General Assembly Motions – Guidance for Authorities.

F. IMPLEMENTING ELECTRONIC GOVERNMENT (IEG) STATEMENT
[Wards Affected: N/A]

F.1 In each of the financial years 2002/2003 and 2003/2004, the Council has received a capital grant of 200,000 from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) towards the cost of delivering its national e-Government agenda. In both years, the receipt of this grant has been dependent upon the Council submitting a satisfactory IEG statement to the ODPM.

F.2 The ODPM has recently announced that it intends to make further funding available to Local Authorities during the financial year 2004/2005. Although the ODPM has not yet announced the form or amount of funding, it has made it clear that in order for the Council to be eligible for receipt of the funding, it must first submit a further "Implementing e-Government" return (IEG3). As with its two predecessors, the IEG3 consists in the main of a statement of the Council's progress towards achieving the target of 100% electronic service delivery by 31st December 2005. As such, it does not change or amend the Council's previously agreed e-Government policy, as set out in the previous IEG statements. The Council's Policy Framework, under its Constitution, includes the Information Communication Technology (ICT) Strategy and IEG Statement. Further, members are reminded that the resource implications of implementing electronic government will be considered as part of the budget process.

F.3 In its published guidance on the completion of this return, the ODPM states that the IEG3 must be submitted by 10th November 2003 and that the IEG3 must be approved by the Council before submission.

F.4 The Executive therefore

RECOMMENDS that

22. authority be delegated to the Executive, at its meeting on 28th October 2003, to approve the Council's IEG3 return, provided it is within the previously agreed policy, and that a copy of the return be submitted to the December meeting of the Council for information.

Background Papers (DoF)

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

PART II – Matters reported in detail for the information of the Council

G. CAR PARKING TARIFFS REVIEW
[Wards Affected: All]

G.1 A report proposing a review of the car parking tariffs was considered by the Executive at its meeting on 1st September 2003. The Executive agreed to refer the report to both the Corporate and Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committees for consideration at their respective September meetings.

G.2 Originally, the parking tariffs were carefully structured across the designated short, medium and long-term car parks, to make it more economic for long-stay parkers to use medium and long-term car parks, so releasing the town centre short-stay spaces for the ready availability and regular turnover of shoppers and other short stay needs. This maximised both the space available and the income generated from short-stay use and reduced avoidable traffic movements by commuters in the town centres.

G.3 The charges for parking periods of up to four hours in town centre car parks, defined as ‘shoppers’ charges, have remained frozen, not in real value but in actual monetary costs, since April 1998, with the exception of the fourth hour of parking which was increased by 10p in April 2002. Cumulative inflation in that period is estimated to be approximately 15%. The cost of short-stay parking has therefore, in real terms, progressively reduced over that period. The proposed charges generally restore the effects of inflation since 'shoppers' short-stay charges were effectively frozen in 1998 (1997 in the case of the 2-hour 50p charge).

G.4 The only Long-Stay Car Parks in which prices were increased during the last review were Croft Road, Godalming, and Upper Hart, Farnham. Moderate increases are now proposed for the remaining Long-Stay Car Parks. Some charges will be further adjusted to better manage the parking stock. It is recommended that Upper Hart car park charges be adjusted to restore an appropriate differential with Lower Hart Car Park, as existed up to 31st March 2003. St James and Riverside 1 operate to capacity throughout the day and adjustments are proposed to reflect their convenience to the Town Centre, and establish a differential with Riverside 2 which is currently underused.

G.5 Waverley’s Car Park Strategy (objective 2.5) states that ‘The Council will standardise the rate of discount for all Season Tickets issued throughout the Borough, and will progressively reduce the level of discount. In February 2002, the Council agreed to reduce the discount from 20% to 10%. However, in some cases the discount offered in long-stay car parks has remained at a higher level in order to retain a reasonable differential with Season Ticket rates where offered in Town-Centre Car Parks. The increase in Town-Centre Car Parks now proposed provides the opportunity for the discount for all Season Tickets to be standardised, whilst retaining a reasonable differential between the various Car Parks. Accordingly, the Season Ticket charges recommended are all based on a discount of 10% of the proposed 5-day, 8-hour Pay and Display charge. The new Season Ticket rates will not apply until 1st April 2004.

G.6 In its Car Parking Strategy, intended to cover the period 2000 – 2005, the Council pledged (Objective 2.2); “the Council will endeavour not to increase, in real terms, the short-term shopper charge rate in car parks during the life of the Strategy.” It has been determined that a substantial number of road movements are parking related in our busy towns. The Car Parking Strategy recognises the key influence parking has in managing the demand for car use. Work is now therefore underway in the production of Town Centre Parking Management Plans for Waverley.

G.7 In the 2001-02 Audit Management Report, the Auditor recognised the financial pressures facing Waverley and suggested that the Council ought to maximise its income from assets, such as car parks, to address those pressures.

G.8 When considered by the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee, the increase in charges was supported but it was suggested that the Executive should take note of the current high level of usage, particularly at the prime sites and that some increases in rates could be made without leading to any large reductions in the usage.

G.9 The Executive has agreed to note the comments made by the Overview and Scrutiny Committees and increase Pay and Display and Contract car parking charges on the basis of Option A which restores the effects of inflation since shoppers short stay charges were frozen in 1998, with effect from 1st December 2003 and Season Ticket Charges with effect from 1st April 2004. A summary of these charges and the detailed schedule are both set out at Annexe 3. The Executive has also agreed that officers should begin a review of the Council's current Car Parking Strategy which expires in 2005.

Background Papers (DoEL)

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

H. LAND AT CRANLEIGH
[Wards Affected: All Cranleigh Wards]

H.1 In 2001, the Council, as the local housing authority, agreed to promote a scheme of affordable housing for people with a strong connection to Cranleigh. This site is adjacent to Wyphurst Road, is outside the developed area and would require an exception to planning policy to be made. However, the Council decided that housing need in Cranleigh was so significant, supply so limited and the opportunities for enabling additional affordable housing remote, that this combination of factors necessitated the Council taking a positive position as a housing authority.

H.2 A report was presented to the Executive on this matter on 1st September, when it was agreed that the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee should be invited to comment on the proposals and that an informal consultation exercise should be undertaken in Cranleigh.

H.3 Cranleigh is the area where it is most difficult for the Council to secure affordable housing for households on the Council’s Housing Needs Register. In order to help address the pressing need, there are now proposals for a development of 79 homes to the rear of Wyphurst Road, Cranleigh. The homes are:

30 x two-bedroom houses
19 x three-bedroom houses
2 x four bedroom houses
9 x two-bedroom bungalows
12 x one-bedroom flats
6 x two-bedroom flats
1 x two-bedroom wheelchair accessible bungalow

H.4 Over many years, officers have tried to identify opportunities for providing affordable housing in Cranleigh, but owing to the constraints of planning policy, no land – other than this site at Wyphurst Road - has been offered for this purpose. Even so, this site is outside the developed area and would not normally be considered for development. The major issue for the Council is that the site being offered is beyond the developed area and the Council, as a Planning Authority, would not, in normal circumstances, approve a housing development on this site.

H.5 On the other hand, as a Housing Authority, the Council:

does not have land holdings in Cranleigh which can be readily made available for affordable housing; has a significant number of households on its Housing Needs Register seeking accommodation in Cranleigh; has a limited amount of affordable housing for families and re-lets in Cranleigh are few; and has been offered land which, because it is an exception to planning policy, can be secured on terms that mean a development of affordable housing is viable.

H.6 The proposal for affordable housing at Cranleigh is based on the premise that such homes, if developed, would be made available to local people who have a strong local connection with the village of Cranleigh. It is only in exceptional circumstances where there is a clearly proven need for affordable housing for local people that the Planning Authority makes an exception to the Local Plan. In order to ensure homes are kept for local people, planning permission can be granted subject to a Section 106 Agreement, which defines the persons who are eligible for such housing. It is intended that should this development progress, a Section 106 Agreement would be included to ensure that the homes are available to people who have a strong local connection to the Parish of Cranleigh.

H.7 At its meeting on 8th September 2003, the Community Overview and Scrutiny Committee considered the same report that was presented to the Executive on 1st September. The Committee was asked for its views. There was a recognition that securing affordable housing in Cranleigh was an intractable problem. A Public Consultation exercise was also held at the Arts Centre in Cranleigh on 18th September 2003 from 1.00pm – 8.00pm to advise members of the public of the new proposals, at which 100 residents from Cranleigh were in attendance to comment. Of 77 comments made, 47 were in favour of the scheme and of those who were against the proposal, it was still acknowledged that there was a need for affordable housing.

H.8 The Executive has agreed to note the issues around affordable housing need and affordable housing supply and the proposed development of 79 affordable homes for people who have a strong local connection to the Parish of Cranleigh. The Executive has also agreed that there is enough merit in the proposal to justify Downland Housing Group making a planning application and that, subject to such planning permission and terms to be negotiated by the Property and Development Manager (and reported to the Executive), the access land to the site that is in the Council’s ownership be disposed of. The officers have also been instructed to use every means possible to ensure that these homes are available to local Cranleigh people now and in the future.

Background Papers (DoH)

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

PART III – Brief summaries of other matters dealt with

Background Papers

The background papers relating to the following report items are as specified in the agenda for the meeting of the Executive.


I. EXECUTIVE – FOUR MONTH ROLLING PROGRAMME
[Wards Affected: N/A]

The Executive has adopted the four-month rolling programme of key decisions, as circulated to all Members of the Council at Appendix A to the agenda.

J. SALE OF SMALL AREAS OF LAND
[Wards Affected: All]

The Executive has considered a report on this matter and has agreed that:-

1. Waverley will not normally sell off plots of land in response to requests made by prospective purchasers, or seek to find buyers for such plots;

2. in exceptional circumstances, where disposal may be considered, it must be evident that any disposal of Waverley land will be in Waverley's long-term interests, in order to take account of potentially different circumstances in the future. Preference should be given to licence/lease arrangements which temporarily allow a different use for the land without losing Waverley long-term control; and

3. the interim policy be reviewed in September 2004.

K. FINDINGS OF THE SERVICE REVIEW OF PERSONNEL SERVICES – 2002/2003
[Wards Affected: N/A]

The Executive has received a report setting out the findings of the service review of Personnel Services and summarising the key issues arising. It has agreed to adopt the Improvement Plan for Personnel Services, subject to a further report on the resource implications.

L. HOUSING SERVICE REVIEWS
[Wards Affected: N/A]

The Executive has received a report summarising the key findings of the 2002/03 housing service reviews of tenancy management and involvement, right to buy and leasehold service charges, homelessness and housing advice and rent arrears recovery. It has agreed to endorse the findings of the reviews and the improvement plans, subject to a six monthly update on the improvement plans to set out progress that has been made.

M. COMMUNITY STRATEGY UPDATE
[Wards Affected: All]

The Executive has received an update report, noted the continuing work of the Local Strategic Partnership and agreed that when carrying out the budget planning process, the Council notes the resource implications (both costs to Waverley and, where possible, contributions from other sources) of activities identified in the Strategy. The Executive also agreed to include the Community Strategy on its Rolling Programme for February 2004.


N. THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000
[Wards Affected: N/A]

The Executive has received an update report on the progress made so far on the implementation of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 and has endorsed the action needed to ensure that Waverley complies with the Act.

O. PUBLIC SPEAKING ON DEVELOPMENT CONTROL AT WAVERLEY – SCOPING REPORT
[Wards Affected: All]

The Committee has received an interim report on the work of the Modernising Planning (Public Speaking) Special Interest Group and has endorsed the outline timetable for implementation as set out in the report. It has also agreed that the informal public question time be removed from Development Control and Area Sub-Committee agenda for the duration of the investigation into public speaking, with the intention that a scheme should be in place at the latest by 1st April 2004 and that the position be reviewed again at this time.

P. SURREY STRUCTURE PLAN: CONSULTATION ON PRE-EXAMINATION IN PUBLIC (EiP) CHANGES
[Wards Affected: All]

The Executive has considered a report setting out key changes featured in the Surrey Structure Plan which is due to receive an Examination in Public in November 2003 and has agreed to convey the comments set out in paragraph 13 and Annexe 4 of the agenda report to Surrey County Council as Waverley's response to the changes.

Q. GOVERNMENT CONSULTATION PAPER – "INFLUENCING THE SIZE, TYPE AND AFFORDABILITY OF HOUSING"
[Wards Affected: All]

The Executive has received a report presenting a Government consultation paper "Influencing the Size, Type and Affordability of Housing" and has agreed to include the comments made by the Environment and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee in its response, set out at Annexe 4 to the agenda report, as its response to this.

R. SURREY MINERALS REPLACEMENT LOCAL PLAN 2004-2016 – CONSULTATION ON ISSUES AND OPTIONS – JULY 2003
[Wards Affected: All]

Surrey County Council has published a consultation document on their Surrey Minerals Replacement Local Plan 2004-2016. The Executive has agreed to convey the comments set out in the agenda report in response to questions in the consultation document to Surrey County Council. It agreed this, subject to strengthening of the response, to insist that Surrey accords much greater weight than hitherto to protect the physical environment and local communities, as compared with economic interests and needs. The Executive agreed that the emphasis should be changed from a demand-led approach to a more environmentally sensitive approach.


S. PROPOSED JOINT TENDER EXERCISE WITH GUILDFORD BOROUGH COUNCIL FOR PROCUREMENT OF SPECIALIST GROUND CONTAMINATION ADVICE
[Wards Affected: All]

The Executive has considered a report setting out the potential benefits of a joint tender exercise with Guildford Borough Council for the procurement of ground contamination advice. It has agreed that

1. the Director of Environment and Leisure, in consultation with the Director of Finance and the Solicitor to the Council, undertakes a joint tendering exercise, together with Guildford Borough Council, for the procurement of specialist ground contamination advice service as described in the report;

2. the Director of Environment and Leisure be authorised to enter into a joint contract for these services with a competent specialist contractor judged by both him and Guildford Borough Council to offer the best value to both councils; and

3. no work be commissioned on Waverley's behalf unless it relates to the execution of its statutory duties under the contaminated land regime of the Environmental Protection Act 1990, as amended, or the Town and Country Planning Act, and for which budgetary provision at that time exists.

T. FINANCE CONSULTATIONS
[Wards Affected: N/A]

The Executive has received a report informing members of a series of consultation papers on proposals to change the local government finance system and has agreed that the Director of Finance be requested to prepare a response to the consultation papers in conjunction with the Portfolio Holder.

U. MATCHED-FUNDING PROVISION – APPLICATION PROCESS, CRITERIA AND TIMETABLE FOR 2004/05
[Wards Affected: All]

The Executive has considered a report reviewing the Matched-Funding provision and has agreed to adopt the amendments, aims and principles, timetable for grant awards, grant criteria and eligibility and funding allocations, as set out in the report. It has also agreed for the development of proposals to create a new partnership fund with the Primary Care Trust and Surrey County Council.

V. INTERNAL AUDIT ANNUAL REPORT 2002/03
[Wards Affected: N/A]

A report summarising the work undertaken by the Internal Audit Section in 2002/03 was presented to the Executive, and the content and conclusions within the report were noted.

W. COMPLIANCE WITH DRAFT REVISED CIPFA CODE OF PRACTICE
[Wards Affected: N/A]

The Internal Audit Section works to the standards set down in the CIPFA's Code of Practice for Internal Audit in Local Government in the United Kingdom. A new draft was issued for consultation earlier this year and the Executive has agreed that:-

1. the Audit Manager submit draft terms of reference for the Audit Section to the Executive by March 2004 for approval;

2. an audit strategy be produced by the Audit Manager by March 2004 for approval which will then be incorporated into the Audit Services Service Plan; and

3. the Executive reviews the Council's previous decisions in respect of the roles and responsibilities of an Audit Committee in relation to the revised Code of practice for Internal Audit in Local Government in the United Kingdom.

X. GEOGRAPHIC INFORMATION ON THE WAVERLEY WEB SITE
[Wards Affected: All]

Waverley is actively contributing to the ODPM funded Planning and Regulatory Services On-Line national project (PARSOL). As part of the project, it is necessary to implement a web based Geographic Information System (GIS). The Executive has agreed that Waverley and the PARSOL national project jointly fund the purchase of software and services from Intergraph for the sum referred to in the (Exempt) Annexe to the report, and that the cost should be split as described.

Y. LAND AT OLD ELSTEAD ROAD, MILFORD
[Ward Affected: Milford]

The Executive has considered a report on this matter and agreed that the land shown outlined on the submitted plan be transferred at minimal cost to English Rural Housing Association, with terms and conditions to be negotiated by the Property and Development Manager.

Z. BUDGET MONITORING – AUGUST 2003
[Wards Affected: All]

The Executive has agreed that the report on the financial position to 31st August 2003 be received, but that it also be referred to the Chief Officers Group for further action.

AA. VARIABLE INTEREST MORTGAGES – VARIATION OF MARTGAGE INTEREST RATE
[Wards Affected: N/A]

The Executive has considered a report on this matter and has agreed that

1. the 'local average rate' for the period 1st October 2003 to 31st March 2004 be declared at 3.75% p.a.;

2. the rate of interest chargeable on mortgages under the Housing (Financial Provisions) Act 1958 (Section 43) be 3.75% p.a. for the period 1st October 2003 to 31st March 2004; and

3. the rate of interest chargeable on mortgages under the Housing Act 1985 (Schedule 16) be 5.19% p.a. for the period 1st October 2003 to 31st March 2004.


BB. SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS
[Wards Affected: N/A]
BB.1 Dunsfold Supplementary Planning Guidance SIG

The Executive has agreed to extend the membership of the Dunsfold SIG to include Mr M W Byham as the Bramley, Busbridge and Hascombe ward member, and Mr J M Savage as the additional Liberal Democrat member.

BB.2 East Street Development SIG

The Executive has agreed to reappoint the East Street Special Interest Group to advise the Portfolio Holder for East Street on the next stage of the redevelopment, particularly on landlord issues. It has agreed new Terms of Reference for the SIG and to appoint Dr P M Marriott, Miss G Ferguson, Mr C H Mansell, Mrs P M Frost and Mrs C Cockburn to serve on the SIG.

CC. COMPREHENSIVE PERFORMANCE ASSESSMENT (CPA)

The Executive has received an oral update on the Comprehensive Performance Assessment and agreed that Portfolio Holders should continue to be involved in refining the Council's final submission to the assessors.

DD. PROPOSED PURCHASE OF PROPERTIES - HASLEMERE
[Ward Affected: Haslemere East and Grayswood]

The Executive has considered a report on this matter and has agreed that the two properties in question should not be purchased by the Council.

EE. PROPOSED SALE OF FREEHOLD PREMISES IN FARNHAM
[Ward Affected: Farnham Weybourne and Badshot Lea]

The Executive has received an update report relating to the proposed sale of freehold premises in Farnham but has agreed to defer consideration of the matter.


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