Agenda and minutes

Resources Overview & Scrutiny Panel
Wednesday, 3rd October, 2018 10.00 am

Venue: The Council Chamber, Moorlands House, Leek

Contact: Pat Trafford, Democratic & Community Services Officer. Tel. 01538 395551 

Items
No. Item

22.

Notification of Substitute Members, if any

Minutes:

Councillor Darren Price attended as substitute for Councillor Kevin Jackson.

23.

Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Minutes of the meeting of the Resources Overview & Scrutiny Panel held on 1 August 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

24.

Urgent items of Business, if any (24 hours notice to be provided to the Chairman)

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

25.

Declaration of Interests:

      i.        Disclosable Pecuniary Interests;

     ii.        Other Interests.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made.

26.

Questions to Portfolio Holders, if any

Minutes:

There were no questions.

27.

Section 106 Planning Obligations - verbal update

Minutes:

Following a similar item at the previous meeting of the Panel, Ben Haywood and Sally Curley attended again at the request of members, who felt that insufficient advance information had been provided prior to that meeting for them to fully investigate the subject. The presentation had been Emailed to Panel members afterwards, but hard copies were requested for permanent reference.

 

There were no specific updates since the previous meeting and questions were invited from members. Queries included (responses in brackets):-

 

·         A recent outline planning application in Cheadle NE Ward included only 9% affordable housing provision. How was this calculated? (The National Planning Policy Framework – NPPF – stated that site viability was a material consideration. A detailed financial viability appraisal was required where developers were unable to provide one third affordable housing, arriving at a realistic build cost per square foot. This gave 7-9%.)

·         If that same site was sold to a Developer with the outline permission, would this affect the affordable housing requirement? (If a different scheme was submitted by a Developer, the affordable housing requirement would need to be looked at again. If the S.106 was to be varied, a ‘Deed of Variation’ would be required.)

·         Is money collected via S.106 supposed to be spent within the Ward to which the application relates? (The money should be spent wherever the S.106 agreement specifies.)

·         There was no mention of contributions to the ‘vitality and viability’ of Cheadle in the recent NE Ward S.106. How is the decision made to contribute to this or otherwise? (This was a policy issue. There had been no specific requests for contributions of this type in this instance.)

·         Parish Councils rarely receive income from S.106’s as the numbers of houses required to trigger them was rarely reached, putting them at a disadvantage.(Each site was considered individually with regard to the need for a S.106.)

·         With the removal of infil boundary lines, how will the number of houses to be built be controlled? (The Council now had a ‘flexible infil policy’ with certain criteria. This was designed to give villages the ability to grow but to avoid sprawl.)

·         Was it now more difficult to ensure the provision of affordable housing given the lesser input from Housing Associations? (Housing Associations still played a role, albeit reduced. The ideal situation was a split in tenure types. A Developer will sell affordable housing at a discount, giving them a lower return on their investment.)

·         Newly-built units at a Werrington Residential Home were now being offered for sale for residential use. Was a retrospective S.106 agreement appropriate? (A S.106 cannot be applied retrospectively. There was nothing in the Local Plan specifically relating to Dementia.)

·         Why had the Council not adopted a Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL)? (The Council was still able to consider adopting a CIL, though the Local Plan had to be in place first. CIL’s were not appropriate for all councils.)

·         One of the S.106 associated difficulties was when monies were distributed to organisations beyond SMDC  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27.

28.

Disabled Facilities Grants - verbal update

Minutes:

Mike Towers (Senior Officer, Housing, Public Health & Licencing) gave members an update on the process of transferring the DFG scheme to a new provider – Millbrook Healthcare Ltd – with effect from 1 April 2018. It was his intention to invite representatives from Millbrook to a future meeting of the Panel in late 2018 / early 2019.

 

Millbrook were the best of the 6 applications received and were already experienced in dealing with similar authorities. Mike expressed confidence in their ability to do the job well.

 

The 1st quarter of 2018/19 had shown no delays in catching up on pre-existing cases, with data so far showing variable improvements in time taken to process applications. Challenging targets had been set which had so far been met.  There would be more specific information available at a future date when the provider attended the Panel.

 

The contract for provision was actually held by Staffs County Council, with SMDC sitting on the controlling group.

29.

Retained Business Rates - 75% - Pilot Bid pdf icon PDF 116 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Claire Hazeldene – Finance, Income & Procurement Manager – presented the report to members in a similar fashion to that of 1 year ago, which was a ‘100% scheme’. Appended to the report was the 2019/20 75% Pilot Application.

 

An invitation to pilot 75% Business Rates retention was published in July 2018, which showed 2 major changes from the previous scheme:-

 

1.    The Government would retain 25% of Business Rates growth, resulting in the 75% pilot, rather than 100%; and

2.    The ‘no detriment’ clause would not be in place for 2019/20.

 

A major issue at this time was a claim from NHS Foundation relating to Mandatory Business Rate Relief, backdated for 6 years. This was felt to be most likely to be determined and accounted for in the 2018/19 year rather than the pilot year. It was felt that the reward from a pilot greatly outweighed the risk of a ‘no detriment’ clause not applying.

 

The Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent Business Rates Pool, of which SMDC was a proposed member, was looking to include Staffordshire Police in the application. Other than this, pool arrangements were proposed to stay as previously. Membership of the pool would ensure a ‘no loss’ – no authority would be worse-off than originally.

 

RESOLVED – That the changes to the criteria to be a 75% Business Rates pilot in 2019/20 be NOTED.

 

FURTHER RESOLVED – That the Council’s submission in conjunction with the other 11 Staffordshire authorities be NOTED.

30.

Work Programme pdf icon PDF 51 KB

Any additional items to be added to the Work Programme:-

      i.        Chairman’s items;

     ii.        Members’ items;

    iii.        Forward Plan.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED – That the Work Programme for the remainder of 2018/19 be NOTED.