Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Executive - Thursday, 22nd February, 2024 6.00 pm

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

Contact: Carrie Anderson, Senior Democratic Services Officer 

Media

Items
No. Item

EX55

Apologies for Absence

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Carla Morson.

EX56

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 not participate 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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

EX57

Minutes pdf icon PDF 101 KB

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Executive held on 25 January 2024.

Additional documents:

Decision:

The minutes of the meeting held 25 January 2024 were confirmed as correct. The Chairman signed the minutes.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2024 were confirmed as correct. The Chairman signed the minutes.

EX58

Leader's Announcements

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Crowdfund Guildford free workshop

Another free Crowdfund Guildford virtual workshop would take place on Friday, 8 March. Residents could access support and funding for their ideas and projects, learn about available resources, the application process, and how to bring community initiatives to life. Residents and local groups were encouraged to attend. More information was available on the website www.spacehive.com/movement/guildford.

Pride in Surrey announcement

The Leader was proud to announce Guildford would be the location for the 5th anniversary celebration of Pride in Surrey, set to unfold at Stoke Park on Saturday, 21 September 2024.

Tickets for the event were available via the Pride in Surrey website and were offered on a 'pay what you can basis' keeping Pride accessible for as many people as possible.

Guildford museum retains Arts Council Accreditation

The museum had retained its Full Accreditation from Arts Council England in recognition of the work the heritage team had put into every aspect of the museum from looking after the collection of objects to meeting relevant standards for policies and procedures.

Congratulations were expressed to the team.

Public inquiry for planning appeal at land at Guildford Cathedral

An appeal would be determined by public inquiry.The inquiry would open on 5 March 2024 and was due to last 10 days. Times and dates were subject to change as advised by the Planning Inspector. More information was available on the council’s newsroom webpage.

 

EX59

O&S Recommendations to the Executive - Modern Slavery pdf icon PDF 68 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Decision:

The Executive formally agreed the proposed responses and the reasons for those responses as set out in the table at item 5.

Reason(s):

Modern slavery was a serious crime that violated human rights. The Council as a public body had a duty to ensure that it was not complicit in modern slavery practice by utilising contractors who were breaching the Act. Implementation of the recommendations would make the council’s processes more effective in that regard.

Other 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 Overview and Scrutiny Committee (O&S) made recommendations to the Executive from time to time as it saw fit and the Executive was required to consider any such recommendations within a two-month period. Set out in the paper were recommendations arising from the O&S meeting held on 19 December 2023. The recommendations related to the council’s obligations towards tackling modern slavery. The council was required to monitor its own performance in this regard via an annual report which was received by O&S. The Executive was asked to agree to progress certain actions within sections 7.5-7.8 of the Annual Report on the Modern Slavery Motion which specifically related to the council’s procurement processes and these were set out in the paper along with suggested responses.

The Leader of the Council introduced the paper and welcomed the Chairman of the O&S, Councillor James Walsh, who was in attendance online. Cllr Walsh commended officers and the quality of the annual monitoring reports that had been received by O&S since Council’s adoption of the Modern Slavery Motion in 2018.

The Executive echoed the comments from Cllr Walsh. The recommendations were welcomed and described as sensible and would provide positive additions to the council’s robust approach to tackling Modern Slavery. It was noted that the council’s adopted standards in this regard extended externally via the procurement process to partners and service providers and so ensured the safeguarding of residents across the council’s activities.

The Executive expressed its gratitude to the O&S for bringing the recommendations and its commitment to a positive working relationship between the two bodies. Consequently, the Executive,

RESOLVED:

That the proposed responses and the reasons for those responses, as set out in the table at item 5, be approved.

Reason(s):

Modern slavery was a serious crime that violated human rights. The Council as a public body had a duty to ensure that it was not complicit in modern slavery practice by utilising contractors who were breaching the Act. Implementation of the recommendations would make the council’s processes more effective in that regard.

EX60

Freehold Disposal of Old Manor House, East Horsley pdf icon PDF 223 KB

Additional documents:

Decision:

Decision:

The Executive authorised the Executive Head for Assets and Property to auction sale the property or negotiate terms for a disposal at best consideration on the open market via private treaty, and to enter into all relevant legal documentation required to complete the transaction of the Council owned land comprising Old Manor House in return for a capital receipt.

Reason(s):

To generate a capital receipt and remove void property costs from future revenue budgets.

Other options considered and rejected by the Executive:

1          Do nothing – the Council retains the land and property in its current state. The Council will continue to incur revenue costs associated with owning and managing a large vacant property. The value of the site may depreciate as it continues to fall into disrepair.

2          Sell the long leases – the Council sells the eight flats individually on eight long leases for 125 years to persons of state pensionable age at 50% less than the market value plus a further reduction to reflect the inhabitable state of repair.

3          Transfer the asset to the HRA – for use within the HRA housing programme. The HRA has reviewed and assessed the property and has deemed it unsuitable for HRA accommodation. The associated costs to undertake the renovation, internal reconfiguration and energy performance upgrades do not make the property viable for the HRA and its ongoing housing programme.

4          Submit a planning application, develop the site and sell – Due to a lack of internal resource and the lengthy planning application process due to its Grade II Listed status, the site is not considered suitable for development by the General Fund. Furthermore, the General Fund is not in a financial position to undertake a redevelopment to put the property into a habitable state of repair for occupational use.

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

None.

Minutes:

Old Manor House comprised a large, detached Grade II Listed building providing eight residential flats that were previously leased to persons of state pensionable age. The building had been unoccupied for some time and required complete refurbishment and modernisation, including fabric replacement and renewal. The capital cost to refurbish the property to bring it into occupational use for housing was significant and was further exacerbated by the necessary reconfiguration of the existing internal layout and the energy performance upgrades required.

The Lead Councillor for Finance and Property introduced the item. The asset was held in the General Fund. Occupation of the property was not possible in its current condition. In view of the budgetary impact to the council, Housing Services had determined it was not suitable for development and surplus to support their service. With all alternative options for property explored, it was recommended the Executive agree to a freehold disposal of the property on the open market.

It was confirmed that access to Lovelace Cottages would have to be safeguarded by any future owner of Old Manor House.

The Executive noted that despite its commitment to providing housing for local people, the extent of the dilapidation of the property and the necessary reconfiguration to bring it back to use would not be the best use of council resources.  It was explained there were significant damp issues, rewiring was needed and the internal reconfiguration for a listed building would be complex and costly. It was suggested that given the building’s protected status, disposal to a new owner to bring the building back into habitational use would be the best option for the community and for the building itself as a local heritage asset.

The Executive heard that to delay a decision in regard to the future of the building would result in a greater decline of its condition and increased future costs, therefore, it was

RESOLVED:

That the Executive Head for Assets and Property be authorised to auction sale the property or negotiate terms for a disposal at best consideration on the open market via private treaty, and to enter into all relevant legal documentation required to complete the transaction of the Council owned land comprising Old Manor House in return for a capital receipt.

Reason(s):

To generate a capital receipt and remove void property costs from future revenue budgets.