Venue: This meeting will be held via MSTeams
Contact: Andrea Carr, Committee Officer Tel no: 01483 444058 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitute Members
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Graham Eyre and Tony Rooth. There were no notifications of substitutions.
Local Code of Conduct and Declaration of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests
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 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.
There were no declarations of disclosable pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests.
To confirm the minutes of the Executive Advisory Board (EAB) meeting held on 6 December 2021.
The minutes of the meeting of the Executive Advisory Board (EAB) held on 6 December 2021 were confirmed as a correct record, and would be signed by the Chairman at the earliest opportunity.
Amanda Masters, Chief Executive Officer of Experience Guildford Business Improvement District (BID), presented a briefing note in respect of the BID’s re-ballot in 2022. The briefing note included a related consultation document, survey highlights and ballot timetable. The consultation document set out the BID’s achievements against the current business plan and invited voters to give their feedback via a survey link. Although the survey had largely closed, it remained open for completion by councillors until 18 June 2022. Next, the BID would hold workshops to give businesses the opportunity to put forward their comments and ideas for the next term which would inform the new business plan to be published in July. The campaign would reach as many voters as possible, including a number of national retail head offices, ahead of the 28-day postal ballot in October in accordance with the timetable.
The EAB was advised that a BID was a business-led and business funded body formed to improve a defined commercial area, in this case Guildford town centre. The benefits of BIDs were wide-ranging and included:
· Businesses decided and directed what they wanted in their area.
· Businesses were represented and had a voice regarding issues affecting their trading area.
· BID levy money was ring-fenced for use only in the BID area.
· Increased footfall and spend.
· Improved staff retention.
· Enhanced marketing and promotion.
· Looking at infrastructure, pollution and movement.
· Guidance in place shaping vision activities.
· Facilitated networking opportunities with neighbouring businesses.
· Assistance in dealing with the Council, police and other public bodies.
The following key facts applied to BIDs:
· In the UK, the majority of BIDs existed in town and city centres, however, they were also in industrial, commercial and mixed-use locations.
· The BID mechanism allowed for a large degree of flexibility and as a result BIDs could vary in shape and size.
· The average size of a BID was 300-400 hereditaments, with some of the smallest having fewer than 50 hereditaments and the largest having over 1,000.
· Although annual income was typically between £200,000 and £600,000, it could be as low as £50,000 per annum or as much as £2 million or more.
· Legislation enabling the formation of BIDs was passed in 2003 in England and Wales (with subsequent regulations published in 2004 and 2005, respectively) and in 2006 in Scotland.
· BIDs were first established in Canada and the United States in the 1960s and now existed across the globe.
Every BID, once elected by relevant businesses, operated for a five-year term. During the term, eligible voters were legally mandated to pay an annual levy. In the case of Experience Guildford, this money was collected by the Council on the BID’s behalf and spent by the BID on the town centre within the terms of the business plan. Following a successful initial ballot in October 2012, the Experience Guildford BID launched in early 2013 and had been in existence for approaching ten years, comprising two terms of five years each, and was preparing for its third ballot in October ... view the full minutes text for item SR42
The Strategic Services Director introduced the above mandate which was before the Executive Advisory Board (EAB) as an update primarily for information as no decision in this respect was required at present. The need for a renewed strategy regarding industrial estates had been identified and when the mandate had been considered by the Executive the previous week, Lead Councillors had agreed that the mandate should be shared with the EAB at this meeting to enable it to provide any related comments or feedback.
The Asset and Property Manager (Investment) presented the mandate proposal which sought the Executive’s agreement to fund the development of a strategy and subsequent redevelopment of the Council’s industrial estates, offering four different options in this regard. The Commercial Property Investment Programme (CPIP), which formed part of the Council’s Savings Strategy, sought to increase rental received and capital values of assets held to generate additional income of £830,000 per annum over the base budget to contribute towards tackling the Council’s budget deficit.
Changes to the Public Works Land Board (PWLB) funding criteria made in November 2020, together with alterations to the Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES), had resulted in the Council widening its remit of property redevelopment and strategic acquisitions funding to enable it to invest further in its existing investment portfolio. The impact of COVID-19 had presented difficulties for the Assets Team to source the appropriate quality of investment stock in the Borough at the correct price and therefore an alternative approach was required to protect and increase the Council’s rental income.
Following the success of the redevelopment of Midleton Industrial Estate, the Council wished to develop an overall growth strategy and vision for the three remaining industrial estates, namely, Slyfield, Lysons and Woodbridge Meadows. This would involve providing a strategy for each individual estate to identify where increased rental income and capital value could be created, and to acquire significant investment, redevelopment and potentially dispose of surplus assets where appropriate. Each project would require a business case, funding would seek to meet the Council’s corporate priorities such as increasing employment, attracting inward investment and improving energy efficiency.
A number of the Council’s industrial estates were not achieving energy efficiency owing to obsolescence and approaching end of economic life leading to a potential loss of income in the case of some assets from March 2023, from when the MEES Regulations would impose stricter standards of energy efficiency in respect of non-domestic rented properties.
Carrying out a detailed review and assessment of the remaining estates and assets would enable the Council to identify opportunities and steps required to protect and grow its rental income and assist with meeting its strategic objectives. This would develop into an overarching strategy to realise the future growth of the Council’s industrial portfolio.
The Strategy would be developed in two phases, firstly, to prepare a high level report outlining the status of the Council’s industrial estates and identifying all issues, risks and opportunities, and secondly, to provide overarching vision, future growth strategy, ... view the full minutes text for item SR43
The Deputy Head of Asset Management introduced the above mandate and explained that, as the previous mandate in this regard had been rather detailed, following a review this version had been developed and divided into considerations regarding the Council’s head office and civic suite in the light of the Council’s collaboration with Waverley Borough Council (WBC). The mandate summarised the latest position and focused on short, medium and long-term options.
The short-term actions undertaken to date consisted of the relocation of the Corporate Management Team and the Democratic Services Team from Old Millmead House (OMH) to New Millmead House (NMH) to release the 7,500 square feet of office space in OMH for leasing and generating up to £250,000 per annum in rent and service charge income. Although there was a preference to rent the office space to public sector bodies, this would be dependent upon demand. In general, grade A or refurbished offices were in demand and tenants enquiring with regard to securing office space were seeking to take up occupation without delay. The Council was currently in the process of agreeing a programme of works, featuring redecoration and recarpeting, in OMH on the advice of local commercial agents. In terms of the length of lease or licence agreements, 3 to 5 year terms with 12 month mutually rolling break clauses were recommended to protect the Council’s position and long term aspirations for the site.
The medium term five year plan intended to reduce the number of desks utilised in NMH and consider the future use of the surplus office space. WBC had confirmed that it would require de-camp space from April 2024 for a period of 18 to 24 months during the redevelopment of The Burys site in Godalming. Therefore, this Council would need to decide whether it was willing to hold surplus office space open for WBC for that length and period of time and give itself the opportunity to trial joint working in a shared head office or pursue leasing the space to third parties. The Executive/Management Team Liaison Group had discussed issuing WBC with a deadline by which it would need to make a commit to Millmead or not. WBC’s subsequent response had been that it would be in a position to commit to Millmead in the next 2 or 3 months and on the basis that this Council confirmed that it would hold the space open for WBC until April 2024 at the earliest.
The longer term position acknowledged that NMH was not in good condition and required significant capital investment to upgrade the fabric of the building and that the site was allocated in the Town Centre Masterplan for redevelopment leading to an assumption that the Council would vacate the building at some point in the future. In the event that this Council chose to co-locate at The Burys with WBC, that Council had advised that it would need Guildford’s detailed requirements in terms of desks, meeting rooms and Councillor facilities etc by the ... view the full minutes text for item SR44
Further to a query concerning the Forward Plan entry in respect of Send Hill Disused Sand Pit, the EAB was advised that the Council was awaiting a re-evaluation of this land in its ownership. A developer had purchased a central site adjacent to the Council’s land and possessed an access route and therefore the developer sought to purchase the Council’s land and construct approximately 46 dwellings there. This project was at a conceptual stage, however, in the event that an agreement in respect of a land sale was reached, the Council would seek to secure the provision of 40% affordable housing as part of the development. In the event of development of the site, the Council would look to ensure that the vistas over the green belt land beyond were maintained. The extent of the contamination of the Disused Sand Pit was unknown at present.
By way of clarification between the terms social and affordable housing, the EAB was advised that social housing referred to the Council’s own rented housing stock whereas affordable housing consisted of affordable rented or shared ownership housing as a percentage element that should be provided as part of all housing developments. The Council’s planning policies sought 40% affordable housing in developments of over ten units. People in receipt of Housing Benefit received benefits from the Government to cover the cost of the affordable rents.
It was confirmed that the Planning Contributions Supplementary Planning Document would not come forward for consideration in the near future due to awaited changes to the National Planning Policy Framework and the replacement of the Community Infrastructure Levy.
To consider the EAB’s work programme with reference to the Executive Forward Plan.
The EAB Work Programme was noted without comment.