A report from the Executive Director of Place is attached. (Report No.66, agenda part two also refers) (Key decision – reference number 4560)
(8.45 – 8.50 pm)
Councillor Nesil Caliskan (Leader of the Council) introduced the report of the Executive Director Place (No.64) taking forward the Electric Quarter Regeneration Scheme.
1. That Report No.66 also referred as detailed in Minute No. 18 below.
2. Councillor Doug Taylor and Councillor Ayfer Orhan requested to address the meeting representing the Ponders End ward councillors, including the following points:
? The lengthy sequence of Cabinet decisions since 2011 was highlighted, and the importance throughout of general community facilities and of the aspirations of the Ponders End Mosque.
? The report contained little information in respect of community facilities. It was important there was genuine improvement of the area and that the community were fully engaged and were not left feeling short-changed.
? There were reservations about the adequacy of the short term plans for the library. A commitment had been made to residents about a library on the High Street.
? The popular mosque would like more land for expansion. The Cabinet should reinforce to officers to work to maximise the useable space on the site and take a creative approach to the land and bring forward the best resolution possible. They should also consider compensatory space in the rest of the development, and should consider the land’s proper value.
? Effective communication was vital.
? Ward councillors were keen to see redevelopment of the area and this was an exciting regeneration programme; and officers were thanked for their ongoing work.
3. Councillor Caliskan thanked the ward councillors for their valuable points. This was a significant project which the previous administration had been right in pursuing and would be a transformation for the better. The current administration would ensure that the project would be progressed but that it had to happen with the community. Specifically in relation to the mosque, Councillor Caliskan noted that over recent weeks representatives from the community had contacted the Council. Councillor Caliskan remarked that she was unclear why there had been so much misunderstanding between representatives from the mosque and the Council over the previous years; especially given that the contract with Lovells was signed in 2014. Councillor Caliskan stated that the administration would ensure that the Council would be clearer with the community in relation to regeneration plans and sites available to them for possible expansion. Councillor Caliskan noted that the mosque had a long history at this location and she had recently met with representatives. The local authority would do what it could to facilitate the mosque’s expansion in recognition of the fact a growing community use the mosque and the existing space is inadequate. Officers had now sent a formal letter regarding negotiations on the land. Assurance was also given that time would be taken to build relationships with the local community, and that options would be considered regarding the library.
4. Specific decisions on sites could be taken under delegated powers.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED the alternative options considered as set out in section 7 of the report and summarised below:
· Do nothing. The Council was obliged to grant the Phase B Lease to Lovell in accordance with the Agreement for Lease.
· Provide Lease for Part of Phase B. All of the land acquired for Phase B had not yet been acquired through the Compulsory Purchase Order (CPO) process. Lovell was seeking a part Lease on Phase B in order to start on site in October, and thus avoid demobilising. If Lovell wanted to start on site on only part of Phase B, a variation to one of the s106 obligations would have to be submitted and agreed by the Local Planning Authority.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed to
1. delegate authority to the Executive Director Place in consultation with the Executive Director Resources, the Leader of the Council and the Cabinet Member for Finance and Procurement to Grant a Lease for Phase B in accordance with the Original Agreement for Lease.
2. Authorise the Director of Law and Governance following consultation with the Leader of the Council to prepare, complete and execute the required legal documentation relating to the Grant the Phase B Lease.
Reason: Granting Phase B lease would unlock the delivery of the final phase of the Electric Quarter Regeneration Scheme. The provision of a further 106 housing units including 31 affordable units would unlock the housing led regeneration of Ponders End High Street. In addition, it would delivery new modern community space and retail units in Ponders End where demand was high. Entering into the Phase B lease would discharge the Council’s contractual obligations under the Agreement for Lease. The scheme would offer a mix of affordable homes and different tenures and provide the opportunity to deliver transformational change in the area and tackle poverty through high quality and varied housing. It would also assist in the rejuvenation and outlook of the town centre and provide an opportunity to create a “heart” for Ponders End High Street.
(Key decision – reference number 4560)