Agenda, decisions and minutes

Executive
Tuesday, 23rd April, 2019 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Millmead House, Millmead, Guildford, Surrey GU2 4BB. View directions

Contact: John Armstrong, Democratic Services Manager. Tel: 01483 444102  Email: john.armstrong@guildford.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

EX100

Apologies for Absence

Decision:

An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor Iseult Roche.

 

 

Minutes:

An apology for absence was submitted on behalf of Councillor Iseult Roche.

 

 

EX101

Local Code of Conduct - Disclosable Pecuniary Interest

In accordance with the local Code of Conduct, a councillor is required to disclose at the meeting any disclosable pecuniary interest (DPI) that they may have in respect of any matter for consideration on this agenda.  Any councillor with a DPI must notparticipate in any discussion or vote regarding that matter and they must also withdraw from the meeting immediately before consideration of the matter.

 

If that DPI has not been registered, the councillor must notify the Monitoring Officer of the details of the DPI within 28 days of the date of the meeting.

 

Councillors are further invited to disclose any non-pecuniary interest which may be relevant to any matter on this agenda, in the interests of transparency, and to confirm that it will not affect their objectivity in relation to that matter.

 

Decision:

There were no disclosures of interest.

 

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest.

 

EX102

Minutes pdf icon PDF 362 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 19 March 2019.

Decision:

The Executive approved, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2019.  The Chairman signed the minutes.

 

 

Minutes:

The Executive approved, as a correct record, the minutes of the meeting held on 19 March 2019.  The Chairman signed the minutes.

 

 

EX103

Leader's Announcements

Decision:

There were no announcements from the Leader.

 

Minutes:

There were no announcements from the Leader.

 

EX104

Annual Governance Statement 2018-19 pdf icon PDF 217 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Decision:

That the Council’s Annual Governance Statement 2018-19, as set out in the Appendix 1 to the report submitted to the Executive, be approved.

 

Reason:

To comply with Regulation 10 of the Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2015, the Executive must approve an Annual Governance Statement.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected by the Executive:

None

 

Details of any conflict of interest declared by the Leader or lead councillors and any dispensation granted:

None

 

 

Minutes:

The Executive was informed that The Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2015 required the Council to prepare an Annual Governance Statement detailing the governance framework and procedures that had operated at the Council during the year, a review of their effectiveness, significant governance issues that had occurred and a statement of assurance. 

 

The Executive considered a report on the Annual Governance Statement for 2018-19, including a copy of the Statement itself.  The Statement was underpinned by the Annual Opinion Report for the period April 2018 to March 2019 submitted by the Audit and Performance Manager (as Head of Internal Audit), which was attached to the main report.

 

The Annual Governance Statement would be included in the Council’s statement of accounts for 2018-19.  The Statement had concluded that the Council was well-run with good governance processes in place.  However, the Statement reported on a number of significant governance issues during the year.

 

Having noted that the Corporate Governance and Standards Committee had reviewed the Statement at its meeting on 28 March 2019 and had recommended its adoption, the Executive

 

RESOLVED: That the Council’s Annual Governance Statement 2018-19, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report submitted to the Executive, be approved.

 

Reason:

To comply with Regulation 10 of the Accounts and Audit (England) Regulations 2015, the Executive must approve an Annual Governance Statement.

 

EX105

Guildford Public Realm Improvement Project pdf icon PDF 535 KB

Decision:

Decision:

(1)     That the proposed Town Centre Public Realm Improvements, as described in the report submitted to the Executive, be approved.

 

(2)     That the sum of £965,000 retained for public realm improvements and £260,000 set aside for the installation of the High Street safety barrier measures be transferred from the provisional to the approved capital programme to deliver the scheme, and that any external contributions, including the £10,000 from the BID Board, be allocated to the approved capital programme towards this scheme.

 

(3)     That the Director of Environment be authorised, in consultation with the relevant Lead Councillor, to progress the scheme to completion and seek relevant statutory consents as required.

 

Reason for Recommendation:

To progress phase 2 of the Town Centre Public Realm Improvements.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected by the Executive:

None

 

Details of any conflict of interest declared by the Leader or lead councillors and any dispensation granted:

None

 

 

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report on the second phase of the programme to reconnect the High Street to the town centre’s cultural and heritage quarter, enhance the town centre’s character and improve visitors’ experience within a distinctive conservation area. 

 

The first phase, delivered in 2018, was the Tunsgate pedestrianisation scheme.  This used high quality materials to complement the High Street’s granite setts and heritage, introduce vehicle restrictions and provide shared level carriageway and landscaping.

 

The second phase of the project would deliver, via consultation, the following:

 

1.     Chapel Street -  enhancement of the current surface to ensure it meets appropriate disability accessibility standards for all whilst continuing to reflect the town centre’s conservation heritage, reusing existing setts or new setts that are in keeping with existing for road surface finish

2.     Swan Lane – upgrading of the pedestrianised carriageway with materials that preserve the town centre’s conservation heritage.

3.     Castle Street – introduction of better traffic controls, signage and physical interventions to address traffic management issues and provide an improved link to the Castle Grounds

4.     Upgrading of existing vehicle gates and CCTV – replacement of existing vehicle barriers and introduction of new vehicle restrictions, where necessary and CCTV on Chapel street.

5.     Signage – extension of the wayfinding signage to enhance the connectivity across the historic centre, promote retailers and cultural offer near the town centre.

 

The creation of a more pedestrian-friendly environment and reducing vehicular dominance would help create a safer place for visitors and add to the character of the town.  These improvements would ensure visitors’ experience was positive and that Guildford’s town centre remained a popular destination through its attractive historic public realm.

 

In order to deliver phase 2, a transfer of the remaining £965,000 from the provisional to the approved capital programme, together with the £260,000 allocated for High Street protection, was required.

 

Having considered the proposals, the Executive

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)     That the proposed Town Centre Public Realm Improvements, as described in the report submitted to the Executive, be approved.

 

(2)     That the sum of £965,000 retained for public realm improvements and £260,000 set aside for the installation of the High Street safety barrier measures be transferred from the provisional to the approved capital programme to deliver the scheme, and that any external contributions, including the £10,000 from the BID Board, be allocated to the approved capital programme towards this scheme.

 

(3)     That the Director of Environment be authorised, in consultation with the relevant Lead Councillor, to progress the scheme to completion and seek relevant statutory consents as required.

 

Reason:

To progress phase 2 of the Town Centre Public Realm Improvements.

 

EX106

Home Adaptation and Improvement Policy Review - Financial Assistance pdf icon PDF 348 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Decision:

That the revised Home Adaptations and Improvement Policy, as set out in Appendix 1 to the report submitted to the Executive, be approved.

 

Reasons:

The proposals:

·        benefit vulnerable residents and enable them to remain living at home safely and in their own communities for as long as possible;

 

·        make best use of increased Better Care Fund, provided by central government for councils to develop local responses to meet the needs of residents who require practical assistance to remain living at home;

 

·        meet national best practice standards, the recommendations of Foundations Adaptations and Equipment Review 2017, authorised by Surrey councils, also in line with neighbouring (and the majority) of Surrey borough and district councils;

 

·        have undergone thorough budget testing and are fully costed. In addition, measures are in place to regularly review budget spend, including reducing discretionary spend, if forecasting a potential overspend, to focus on mandatory grant requirements; and

 

·        are supported by service user groups, Guildford Care and Repair Service, Surrey County Council Occupational Therapy teams who refer to the service.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected by the Executive:

None

 

Details of any conflict of interest declared by the Leader or lead councillors and any dispensation granted:

None

 

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report on the proposed revised Private Sector Home Adaptation and Improvement Policy for Guildford that would allow the Council to extend the range of assistance available to vulnerable residents to help them remain safely and independently in their own homes.

 

The policy had been written in response to increased funding, through the Better Care Fund, Housing Capital Grant. This was a combined fund provided by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and the Department of Health, to enable councils to assist their residents to access housing improvements and adaptations, which will enable them to live independently at home, for as long as possible.

 

The changes in policy were also planned to implement recommendations made to Surrey councils through Foundations (national Home Improvement Agency charity) Adaptation and Equipment Report 2017. Each of the Surrey borough and district councils had been working together, through the Surrey Equipment and Adaptations Project, to review, plan and implement the recommendations made within the Foundations report.

 

The key features of the policy review were to introduce discretionary elements within the support provided through the Disabled Facilities Grant (DFG), to complement the mandatory provision. The discretionary policy would be available to all grant applicants; however, it was anticipated that the policy would have a positive impact on 92 people. The key changes were:

 

·        Exemption from means testing for works that prevent falls, i.e. rails, ramps, steps and stairlifts. This would reduce bureaucracy and improve response times to install equipment required by older and disabled people, many of whom were on low incomes and already passed the financial test of resources.

 

·        Introduction of a Prevention Grant to fund installation of rails and associated measures to prevent falls in the home without charge, as well as works in the home to facilitate discharge from hospital, prevent ill-health and emergencies, such as minor repair or adaptations, assistive technology, emergency heating or electrical repairs, or clearing hoarding.

 

·        Flexibility to the upper limit of DFG from £30,000 to £45,000 per application for major works. This additional funding would be means tested for adults and children with disabilities (the latter were exempt from means testing for works valued up to £30,000). The policy would allow quicker decision making for complex cases, where funding was required from Surrey County Council, as well as Guildford Borough Council.

 

·        Discretion for the Regulatory Services Manager to waive the means test for those who would struggle financially to meet their contribution to the cost of works. The flexibility would have a maximum value of £12,000 for residents with financial hardship of income, or less than £24,500 savings. Any client contribution would be waived, if costing less than £1,000.

 

·        The introduction of a Relocation Grant of up to £10,000 to assist home owners or tenants to move to a suitable property, when their current home was not suitable for adaptation.

 

·        To continue to provide discretionary assistance to applicants meeting the eligibility criteria in the current home improvement policy.

 

Having considered  ...  view the full minutes text for item EX106

EX107

Exclusion of the Public

Minutes:

The Executive

 

RESOLVED: That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) and Regulation 5 of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012, the public be excluded from the meeting for the following item of business on the grounds that it involved the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

 

EX108

Acquisition of the Leasehold interest in a property

Decision:

Decision:

 

That the Executive:

 

(1)         approves the transfer of £8,520,000 from the provisional capital programme to the approved capital programmeto purchase the leasehold interest of the property referred to in the report submitted to the Executive;

 

(2)         authorises the Corporate Property Manager to complete the transaction in consultation with the Chief Finance Officer and Lead Councillor; and

 

(3)        agrees to waive the call-in procedure in respect of this decision, in accordance with Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 16 (h).

 

Reasons:

To consolidate the leasehold and freehold interests of this strategic asset; increase future income; and improve the investment value of the Council’s investment asset.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected by the Executive:

None

 

Details of any conflict of interest declared by the Leader or lead councillors and any dispensation granted:

None

 

 

Minutes:

The Executive considered a report which sought agreement to transfer funds from the provisional capital programme to the approved capital programme to fund the acquisition of the leasehold interest of one of the Council’s freehold properties in the Borough. This would be a strategic acquisition due to its location and the consolidation of the freehold and leasehold interests. The final heads of terms were still being negotiated.

 

Councillors noted that the purchase would only proceed if it met the Council’s investment criteria, and the decision would be made in consultation with the Lead Councillor for Finance and Asset Management.

 

In accordance with Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 16 (h), the Managing Director had designated this matter to be urgent and, subject to the formal agreement of the Executive and the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, shall not be subject to the call-in procedure. 

 

Having noted that the Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee had already given her formal agreement, the Executive

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)         That the transfer of £8,520,000 from the provisional capital programme to the approved capital programmeto purchase the leasehold interest of the property referred to in the report submitted to the Executive, be approved.

 

(2)         That the Corporate Property Manager be authorised to complete the transaction in consultation with the Chief Finance Officer and Lead Councillor.

 

(3)        That the call-in procedure in respect of this decision be waived in accordance with Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rule 16 (h).

 

Reasons:

To consolidate the leasehold and freehold interests of this strategic asset; increase future income; and improve the investment value of the Council’s investment asset.

 

Note: By reason of the special circumstances described below, the chairman considered that this item should be dealt with at this meeting as a matter of urgency pursuant to Section 100B 4 (b) of the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Special Circumstances:  The Council had been approached off-market regarding these properties. However, other third parties were becoming aware of the opportunity. The Council therefore needed to be ready to act as soon as possible. By delaying consideration of the matter to the next meeting of the Executive (21 May 2019), the Council could lose the opportunity to acquire this key strategic site and good investment property.