A report from the Executive Director – Place is attached. (Report No.42, agenda part two also refers) (Key decision – reference number 4567)
(8.45 – 8.50 pm)
Councillor Ahmet Oykener (Cabinet Member for Property and Assets) introduced the report of the Executive Director Place (No.41) following the previous report to Cabinet in November 2017 on the strategy for Genotin Road Car Park.
1. That Report No.42 also referred as detailed in Minute No.23 below.
2. The background to the proposals as set out in the report. The Council’s aspirations for businesses to thrive in Enfield together with the provision of skilled jobs within the Borough were highlighted. The Council would continue to explore innovative ways of attracting income to the Borough in the light of Government funding cuts.
3. That Metaswitch was a key employer in the Borough with approximately 400 employees in Enfield, a significant number of which were Enfield residents. The aim of this report was for Cabinet to enable the Council to grant an institutional lease for, a grade A office building to Metaswitch Networks Limited, on the terms outlined in the report.
4. That following the deferral of the report from the previous Cabinet meeting a number of changes had been made to the report to increase transparency and to provide further information for Members’ consideration.
5. The proposals for sharing the car park in the evenings and at weekends, and the provision that would be made for blue and brown badge holders. In addition the income to the Council would continue during the construction period. Discussions were ongoing with Metaswitch.
6. The discussion which had taken place with Metaswitch regarding the potential growth in the number of employees at the new Enfield headquarters. Members asked that consideration be given where possible to the employment of local people, including those with disabilities, and, in the provision of apprenticeships.
7. Members supported the retention of such a major employer in the Borough whilst also protecting a sufficient level of car parking provision in Enfield Town. The report now under consideration was robust and the proposals would be beneficial to the Borough and its residents.
8. The Council would continue to work with its partners to support and seek employment opportunities for local people.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED, the alternative options which had been considered as set out in section 4 of the report:
· Not seeking to retain Metaswitch Networks Ltd. in the Town Centre was likely to see Metaswitch relocate outside the Borough (paragraph 4.1 of the report referred).
· Alternative locations for a new Metaswitch office had been considered in Autumn 2017 (paragraph 4.2 of the report referred).
· A further option which retained Metaswitch in the town centre was to sell the car park land freehold to Metaswitch, who would finance the proposed office development separately (paragraph 4.3 of the report referred)
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed
1. To delegate authority to the Executive Director Place in consultation with the Executive Director Resources to agree Heads of Terms and enter into a contract on those terms for an agreement for lease, including arrangements for the funding of the development of an office on land known as Genotin Road Car Park. On completion of the development, Metaswitch would enter into a business lease for a minimum of 15 years. The Council would retain the freehold of the property. The car park would be made available for public use at the weekend and evenings.
2. That the contract (whether it be a development agreement, lease, or contract for sale) to be in a form approved by the Director of Law and Governance.
Reason: The development of a new grade A office building and pre-letting to a local business represented a solid financial investment opportunity for the Council. The Council would receive ongoing rental income significantly above the car park income and make a reasonable return on the expenditure to build the development. It also retained a key business in the borough and supported the expansion of a significant employer to create a global headquarters building in the London Borough of Enfield. The development of the car park and use as an office was supported by the Town Centre Framework Masterplan, and could help act as a catalyst for further employment development in the Town Centre.
(Key decision – reference number 4567)