Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Committee Rooms 1 & 2 - Deanes. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services Team 

Media

Items
No. Item

22/21

Apologies for absence and substitutions

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Peter.

23/21

Declarations of interest

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

24/21

Urgent matters

To consider any items of business, other than those shown on this agenda and which, by reason of special circumstances to be stated at the meeting, in the opinion of the Chairman, should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency.

 

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

25/21

Minutes of the meeting held on 2 and 16 September 2021 pdf icon PDF 406 KB

The Chair will move that the minutes of the meeting be signed as a correct record. The only part of the minutes that can be discussed is their accuracy.

Minutes:

Cllrs Mahaffey and McCormick commented on the brevity of the minutes. The Portfolio Holder for Communities, Planning and Infrastructure provided assurances that all comments made at the previous meeting had been noted and recorded.  

26/21

Building Fire Safety pdf icon PDF 551 KB

Contact Officer:        Chris Williams

 

The report provides a progress update on the Council’s multi-disciplinary ‘task force’ work relating to fire safety within tall buildings, in accordance with the motion passed at the Council meeting on 18 March 2021.

 

The report was circulated to members of the Economic, Planning and Housing Committee on 8th September as a briefing paper, and no comments or queries were received. Consequently the paper is purely for noting.

 

 

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Homes and Housing Regeneration introduced the report.

 

The Interim Regulatory Services Manager commented that since publication of the report the estimated completion date for works at Winterthur Way was now early 2023 (item 4.2), and further Hampshire & Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) had reported back on Birch and Fir blocks to confirm that they were satisfied with the safety and management of the buildings (item 4.3).

 

It was noted that an amended table 2.1.3 had been circulated to the committee prior to the meeting. The Interim Regulatory Services Manager explained that the original category of ‘Managed by’ had been changed to ‘Managing Agent’ and that Winterthur Way was managed by Chaneys Chartered Surveyors rather than Victory Hill Management Company.

 

It was clarified that Firstport had secured funding of £5.5 million from central government.

 

It was further noted that the officer’s understood that there were no issues relating to external wall systems of the Vivid Housing Association properties.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Homes and Housing Regeneration confirmed that the costs of the ‘the 24/7 waking watch’ at Crown Heights was significant and had been met by leaseholders.

 

It was further explained that remedial works were taking a long time, but that HIWFRS was satisfied that the building was currently safe. The Interim Regulatory Services Manager commented that the works were taking so long due to the delay in funding, the extent of the work required and the fact that it was specialist work that could only be undertaken by a limited number of companies. 

 

In response to a query relating to building control sign off the Portfolio Holder for Homes and Housing Regeneration commented that sign off would be assessed in line with current guidance, whether by an in-house building control team or an independent contractor. There was no restriction on outsourcing.

 

The following actions were agreed:-

 

·         It was agreed that Brookvale ward members would be invited to become involved in ongoing discussions and resident liaison.

·         The Portfolio Holder agreed to correspond with local MPS and the responsible Minister to request a review of building control regulations and legislation, and to circulate a response once forthcoming.

Resolved:     the Committee note the report.

 

27/21

Implementation of First Homes pdf icon PDF 557 KB

Contact Officer:        Kate Randall

 

First Homes is a new tenure of low cost home ownership affordable housing which allows first time buyers to get onto the housing ladder at a reduced price. Given the interest in low cost home ownership indicated by the council’s low cost home ownership events and schemes, First Homes are expected to be in demand.

 

The report sets out how the council will implement First Homes through the planning system.

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Homes and Housing Regeneration introduced the report detailing a new national scheme developed by government. It was explained that the paper did not outline a fixed position, but was intended as an interim statement for implementation over the next 18-24 month whilst the Local Plan was updated. It was suggested that at that point the scheme could be reviewed and revised accordingly.   

 

It was clarified that in relation to 2.6 the introduction of ‘first Home Exception Sites’ would not jeopardise any strategic gaps and would not be judged any differently to any other rural exception site. It was suggested that such a site would provide a mix of affordable housing and market housing, but with market housing representing a smaller proportion of the site. 

 

It was suggested that employment in the borough for 6 months prior to expressing an interest in the scheme was too short a period to warrant priority status under the ‘local connection criteria’. It was noted that a balance would need to be struck to ensure that the scheme was accessible and did not become too restrictive.

 

The Head of Housing and Social Inclusion clarified that the scheme was not a priority allocation scheme but instead used criteria to determine a cohort of priority eligible buyers able to apply for the scheme.

 

It was clarified that the 3 months local eligibility clause was a statutory requirement and could not be changed.

 

It was clarified that ‘first time buyer’ was a national definition and was linked to stamp duty, with no discretion for flexibility.

 

It was suggested that the employment criteria be reviewed in the context of home working, which had increased significantly in the past year.

 

It was anticipated that the scheme would house up to 200 residents per year.

 

It was clarified that the list of key workers was defined by government.

 

It was clarified that the maximum annual income and percentage discount criteria were both government requirements and that any amendment would require robust justification and provision of evidence to a government inspector.  

 

It was suggested that advertising the scheme would be important and should include parish liaison, including parish clerks, particularly given the fairly short initial timescale of 3 months.

 

It was clarified that there would be a restriction on the title of the property limiting it to ‘First Home’ status and that such a clause would allow for ongoing monitoring of the scheme. Re-sale of the property would require valuation by an RICS surveyor, thus limiting the risk of inflated value.

 

It was acknowledged that fiscal drag would have an impact on the re-sale price of the property, but the Portfolio Holder for Homes and Housing Regeneration commented that the understanding was that the government would review the overall limits in the future to ensure that they rose in line with house prices. It was suggested that a potential impact on re-sale price should be highlighted to purchasers at the outset.

 

It was clarified that national legislation required  ...  view the full minutes text for item 27/21

28/21

Transport Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 350 KB

Contact Officer:        Mark Lambert

 

The Transport Strategy was adopted by the Borough Council in summer 2019 alongside adoption by Hampshire County Council at the same time.

 

The report provides an update on a number of technical pieces of work underway to progress with the achievement of the objectives of the strategy.  

 

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Communities, Planning and Infrastructure introduced the annual update report.

 

The Climate Change and Sustainability Manager clarified that in relation to 3.9, the Mass Rapid Transport (MRT) system was a bus based system. Further, under 3.15 it was reported that a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) workshop would be taking place on the afternoon of 11 November and all committee members were invited.

 

The Climate Change and Sustainability Manager expressed confidence that the transport strategy assessment would be ready to feed into the Local Plan discussions. The Portfolio Holder for Communities, Planning and Infrastructure added that the assessment would not block or approve potential Local Plan sites, but would indicate where infrastructure development and improvements were required.

 

It was clarified that ’15 minute neighbourhoods’ are a relatively new concept which referred to creating communities where residents would be able to access services and facilities on site, with only a 15 minute walk or cycle ride and a degree of self-containment.

 

In relation to the M3 junction 7/8 technical modelling it was acknowledged that the distance between junction 7 and 8 was sub-standard by current requirements and that the scope of the study would recognise the potential safety issue. It would also look to provide remedies to this. It was clarified that the study was looking between junctions 6 and 8 and would identify any capacity issues. 

 

It was reported that BDBC were undertaking a number of discussions with Stagecoach in relation to improvement of the bus service and that scope for updating the fleet to electric vehicles would be explored in the future.

 

It was clarified that the cycle way at Brighton Hill was being installed to link Brighton Hill centre with the roundabout and would provide the most up to date quality cycle path, as opposed to the footway which was previously present and not officially sanctioned as a cycle way.

 

It was reported that further to the master planning work undertaken by Allies and Morrison there was a suggestion to combine some of the car parks at the Top of Town.

 

The committee members made the following comments and observations:-

 

·         It was clarified that electrification of the rail line between Basingstoke and Reading would improve speed and capacity of the line. Members expressed concern that this would be achieved by pylons which would affect the aesthetics of the landscape.

·         There was widespread disappointment that the MRT was being limited to buses. It was criticised as being short sighted and not incorporating electric vehicles. In response, the Climate Change and Sustainability Manager explained that the bus model had been chosen as best to provide the journey reliability and dependability required by local residents, in vehicles with lower emissions than a car. It was further reported that a lot of work had been undertaken behind the scenes by HCC to inform the position. It was suggested that bus lanes would be created by using the existing highway space either from the verges or central reservation,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 28/21

29/21

Review of work programme pdf icon PDF 291 KB

The Committee is asked to note and review its Work Programme and to receive updates from the Lead Members of Task and Finish Groups.

 

Minutes:

The committee reviewed and agreed its work programme with the following comments:-

 

·         It was requested that the Portfolio Holder for Communities, Planning and Infrastructure provide an update at the meeting on 18th November in relation to work undertaken to prove exceptional circumstances and reduce the housing allocation requirement.

·         It was reported that the 25th November and 2nd December had been provisionally booked should the meeting of the 18th be adjourned.

·         The Chair agreed to make enquiries as to whether the Water Study and Transport Strategy would be available for the meeting on 6th January. 

·         The Chair reported that he had agreed that the AMR would be reviewed by the Scrutiny committee, and then reviewed only in relation to planning matters by the EPH committee on 27th January.

·         It was agreed that there would be an additional meeting in February to review the Housing Green Conversion Motion, Climate Change Policies and receive a verbal update on the Covid 19 Motion.