A report from the Executive Director – Place is attached. Note: Part 2 report containing exempt information also refers. (Key decision – reference number 5174)
Councillor Nesil Caliskan (Leader of the Council) introduced the report of the Executive Director Place updating Cabinet on the progress made to deliver new homes and sustainable neighbourhoods at Meridian Water.
1. That a part two report containing exempt information also referred as detailed in Minute No.16 below.
2. Since the Council assumed the role of the master developer in 2018, great progress has been made and contracts have been negotiated to build around 1,200 homes.
3. In October 2019 an agreement was signed with the Vistry Group to build Meridian Water Phase 1 - 950 homes (50% affordable and 50% Council owned) as well as public open spaces and a skills academy. This was on track for completion as planned.
4. The skills academy will provide employment and training for local people in skills related to the built environment. This would lead to sustainable well-paid employment opportunities. The Council is working closely with Vistry so that the skills academy can continue its work beyond Meridian Phase One.
5. In March 2020, Vistry was selected to for a partnership to build a further 250 homes which would be 100% council owned. This report sets out the detailed delivery plan for phase 2. It would mean that the Council could retain the ability to control and shape the building proposals.
6. Meridian Water Phase 3 involves two plots which could be used to provide student or coliving housing. Despite the current issues with student housing it was still felt to be worthwhile to pursue the coliving options.
7. Three options have been put forward for Meridian Water Phase 4. These are set out in the report as Option 1,2a and 2b. In Option 1 the Council would act as the master developer, but the phase would be delivered by a third party who could deliver homes for rent or sale at their discretion.
8. In Option 2a the Council would enter into a forward sale agreement with a build to rent investor and with a registered provider. In Option 2b the Council would enter into a forward funding agreement instead of this. Both options would deliver market and affordable homes for rent at a range of prices.
9. The report recommends that the Phase 4 scheme is directly delivered by the Council. This would reduce the overall council debt and generate receipts for the Council. Further details on page 330 of the agenda pack.
10. The private sector rental market was not working for residents this scheme would provide alternatives.
11. Despite the Coronavirus situation, the overall schemes are on track. There have been no major delays. Risks are being managed by procuring the development partner in advance. Professional expertise will be bought in where needed to manage the projects.
12. Welcome for the proposals which would provide much needed family homes for local people.
13. Thanks to the officers for all the work they had put in to develop these proposals.
14. The first phase of the scheme would deliver 48 council homes. Hundreds more would be provided as the schemes progress.
Alternative Options Considered: NOTED, the detailed options that had been considered regarding Meridian Four, Meridian Three and the Skills Academy as outlined in paragraphs 220, 221 and 222 of the report.
DECISION: The Cabinet agreed to
1. Note the progress across the first four ‘Meridian’ residential led schemes as detailed in the report.
2. Note the latest position on the Skills Academy, and delegate authority to the Programme Director Meridian Water in consultation with the Leader of the Council to make all strategic and implementation decisions related to the Meridian Water Skills Academy within the budget as set out in this report. That Cabinet further delegates authority to the Programme Director – Meridian Water to approve and enter into such agreements as are necessary (including any consequential variation to the Meridian One Development Agreement) to formalise such instruction.
3. Delegate authority to the Programme Director – Meridian Water to make all required procurement and implementation decisions in accordance with the relevant procedure rules to procure and enter into contract to complete ‘shell & core plus’ level of fit out works for Council owned non-residential spaces at ‘Meridian One’, in the event that the Council does not agree a price under the Development Agreement as explained in the report.
4. Note as part of the community infrastructure being delivered at Meridian Water that a Health and Wellbeing Centre potentially will be established as part of D1 Community Use space at ‘Meridian One’ as set out in the report and agreed to delegate authority to the Programme Director – Meridian Water in consultation with the Executive Director of People and the Director of Property and Economy to make all relevant procurement and land disposal decisions required to implement the Meridian One community infrastructure provision.
5. Authorise the marketing of two plots at ‘Meridian Three’ for permanent development in accordance with the use classes in the planning application and the third plot to Registered Providers (if not acquired by the Housing Revenue Account), or for some or all of the three plots to be marketed for a meanwhile use.
6. Delegate authority to the Executive Director Place in consultation with the Acting Executive Director Resources the disposal of two plots within the Phase 2 Outline Planning Permission to a Student and/or Co-Living Developer and a third plot disposed of to a Registered Provider or retained by the Council’s Housing Revenue Account (if there is sufficient capacity to do so) or letting of some or all of the Meridian Three land on an operating lease (meanwhile use) all as detailed in this report under the ‘Meridian Three’ sections.
7. Approve the Phase 2 Detailed Delivery Plan (Appendix 1 of the report) and the recommendation within it for the direct delivery of ‘Meridian Four’, as summarised in the report.
8. Authorise the procurement of the professional team required to deliver Meridian Four, and the expenditure of the budget (set out in Part 2 of the report, Minute No.16 below referred), and delegated authority to the Programme Director – Meridian Water, acting in accordance with all relevant procedures and protocols, to authorise and enter into the individual contract appointments.
9. Approve the competitive marketing of ‘Meridian Four’ to Build to Rent investors and potentially Registered Providers (where the affordable homes are not to be held in the Council’s Housing Revenue Account), and delegated authority to the Executive Director - Place in consultation with the Executive Director - Resources and the Director of Law and Governance to select the appropriate parties and enter into any resulting agreement(s) including agreements to document funding arrangements, land disposals and construction contracts to those parties.
10. Delegate authority to the Programme Director – Meridian Water, to determine the preferred procurement strategy, and commence the procurement of a Main Contractor(s) to deliver ‘Meridian Four’ (and the affordable housing units at ‘Meridian Three’, and potentially other Council projects subject to the relevant approvals, or third party landowners at Meridian Water) and noted that a future report to recommend the award of a contract (and potentially a framework) to a Main Contractor(s) would come back to Cabinet.
11. Approve the inclusion of Plot Z05-08 (in the Phase 2 Outline Planning Permission) within ‘Meridian Four’ for an A3/A4 Use Class (Class E or Sui Generis under the new legislation) at Meridian Water as set out in this report to establish a Food and Beverage and evening economy offer, and delegated the delivery strategy and land disposal to the Lead Member for Meridian Water.
12. Approve the inclusion of Plot Z04-10 (in the Phase 2 Outline Planning Permission) adjacent to the new Brooks Park for an A3/A4 Use Class as set out in the report to construct and establish a Park Pavilion, incorporating a café/restaurant, and delegated the delivery strategy and land disposal to the Lead Member for Meridian Water.
13. Note the proposal to deliver leisure opportunities in the River Lea Navigation and Banbury Reservoir as the first stage of a health and wellbeing offer at Meridian Water, and delegate authority to the Programme Director – Meridian Water to approve the delivery strategy, enter into agreements with the land owners and commence the process to appoint delivery partners.
14. Approve the development of a ground floor commercial space strategy for Meridian Water as explained in the report and delegated authority to the Programme Director – Meridian Water in consultation with the Director of Property and Economy to approve the strategy.
Reason: NOTED, the detailed reasons for the above recommendations as set out in paragraphs 20 to 26 of the report.
(Key decision – reference number 5174)