To receive a report from the Executive Director of Regeneration and Environment on the small housing sites. (Report No: 21)
(Key decision reference number: 4298)
Please note that this report should be considered in conjunction with report no 24 on the part 2 agenda.
Cabinet is due to consider this report on 13 July 2017. If the recommendations in the report are approved, Council will be asked to agree an addition to the Council’s Capital Programme.
The Cabinet decision will be reported to Council on the Council update sheet tabled at the Council meeting.
Councillor Oykener moved and Councillor Lemonides seconded a report of the Executive Director Regeneration and Environment updating Council on the small housing site schemes. (Report No: 21)
1. This report was considered in conjunction with the part 2 report.
2. That Cabinet had approved the report and recommendations for referral on to Council on 13 July 2017.
3. The points highlighted by the majority group
· That the small housing site schemes had been delayed due to a serious private sector failure. The original proposal had involved the construction of 94 apartments (37 affordable and 57 for market sale). The Council had set up a private rental company Enfield Innovations Limited to manage the rental of the 57 private homes on its behalf.
· The sub-contractor employed to build the properties had fallen into administration, following the Government withdrawal of renewable energy grants. This had caused delays to the project which had been protracted while a solution was sought with the main contractor. The recommendations in the report had been put forward to rectify the current situation and provide a financially viable way to complete the projects. Not agreeing would risk further delay and further cost overruns.
4. The concerns of the Opposition in relation to:
· The late presentation of the report to Cabinet, which had not been available until the day of the meeting.
· That it had taken over seven and a half years to reach this point and still building work on four of the seven sites had not started and only 22 of the original 94 homes had been completed.
· The poor response of the Council to the company failure, over eighteen months ago, and the delays in sorting out a new contract to complete the works.
· The risks involved in the proposed recommendations which could involve the Council in considerable extra costs.
· That the Council’s delays were letting down young people, desperate for homes.
· That the Council were not acting within their powers in the way that the original scheme had been developed.
5. The response of the Majority Group
· The need to acknowledge the problems arising from reduction in funding from the Conservative and Coalition Governments which had led to the Council losing £120million and which left it struggling to maintain services. The Conservative Government appeared to have set out to attack councils and council housing.
· That the project had been beset with problems because of Government intervention in withdrawing the green energy grants.
· That the work on the report had continued until the last minute to enable the best possible solution to be found to ensure that the Council could balance the books and complete the works.
Following the debate the recommendations were put to the vote and agreed with the following result:
1. To approve as recommended by Cabinet (13 July 2017) the additional budget as set out in part 2 of this report to complete the two sites with Kier as set out in part 2 of this report and terminate the Development Agreement on terms including to complete Phase 1 for the additional sums set out in part 2 of this report.
2. To note that Cabinet (13 July 2017) agreed to delegate authority to the Executive Director Regeneration and Environment and the Executive Director of Finance, Resources and Customer Services to conclude the details of the termination agreement referred to in 2.1 above. This will take into consideration the revised fixed price contract sum for partial completion of the Development Agreement in respect of completing 47 homes on three sites at St Georges, Parsonage Lane and Tudor Crescent only (Phase 1) as part of a negotiated commercial settlement.
3. To approve, as recommended by Cabinet (13 July 2017), subject to the Development Agreement being terminated with Kier, to approve the recommended procurement options as set out in Part 2 of this report for Phase 2 (Holtwhites Hill, Jasper Close, Forty Hill and Lavender Hill)
4. To approve, as recommended by Cabinet (13 July 2017), the additional budget required for Phase 2, as set out on part 2 of the report.