Agenda and minutes

Cabinet
Wednesday, 27th February, 2019 5.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre. View directions

Contact: Elizabeth Jackson, Democratic Services Manager  Tel: 01423 500600 Email:  democraticservices@harrogate.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

109.

Apologies for Absence:

Minutes:

109/18 – APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE:  An apology for absence had been received from Councillor Andy Paraskos.

(5.34 pm)

 

110.

Declarations of Interest:

Members to advise of any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest made by Members at the meeting.

111.

Minutes: pdf icon PDF 245 KB

of the meeting of 6 February 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

111/18 – MINUTES:  The Minutes of the meeting of Cabinet held on 6 February 2019 were approved unanimously as a correct record and signed by the Chair.

 

(5.34 pm)

 

112.

Exempt Information:

To determine whether to exclude the press and public during the consideration of any exempt information items.

Minutes:

112/18 – EXEMPT INFORMATION: 

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That, in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted, the meeting be not open to the public during the discussion of Minute 113/18 below as there will be a disclosure of exempt information as defined in Section 100I of the Act.

 

The exempt information in question relates to the financial or business affairs of any particular person, including the authority holding that information, as defined in paragraph 3 of Schedule 12(A) to the Act, as amended.

 (5.37 pm)

 

Matters to be Determined by Cabinet

113.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme: pdf icon PDF 164 KB

The Revenues, Welfare and Customer Services Manager to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

113/18 – COUNCIL TAX REDUCTION SCHEME:  The Revenues, Welfare and Customer Services Manager submitted a written report which detailed the annual review of the Local Council Tax Reduction (CTR) Scheme, which was attached as an Appendix.  CTR provided support for low-income households and was currently based on a means-test.  The scheme was split between those of pension age and those of working age; the rules for pension age claimants were set by the government, however the rules for working age households were for the billing authority to determine.  The scheme was aligned with Housing Benefit (HB) processes which allowed administrative efficiencies to be achieved.  The introduction of Universal Credit (UC) in 2016 had introduced an additional level of complexity as the majority of new working age claims were claiming UC instead of HB and the administrative team were dealing with a range of complex legislation across two different benefit schemes. 

 

It was therefore proposed that a review be undertaken during 2019/20 to ensure closer alignment between UC and the local CTR scheme, and that a new scheme be rolled out during the 2019/20 financial year.  A review had been planned for 2018/19, however changes to the roll out of UC had led to the review being put back by a year.

 

The Council would receive a localising council tax support grant for administration purposes of £114,128 from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.  Currently the scheme awarded approximately £7 million in CTR to nearly 8,000 households in the district, 13% of this was directly funded by HBC, with the remaining cost being borne by the other preceptors.

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That Harrogate Borough Council maintains the current Local Council Tax Reduction Scheme in its current format for 2019/20 but reflecting legislative changes that have come into effect since the 2018/19 scheme review.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

The current scheme provided financial assistance for low-income households in the district and supported the Council’s aims under its Welfare Strategy.

 

Legislation required the Council Tax Reduction policy to be approved on an annual basis by 11 March preceding the start of the financial year the policy applied to.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected:

 

To make no changes to the scheme.  This was not a viable option as the Council must reflect national legislative changes in the local scheme.

 

Any change made under local discretion would mean disruption in service provision and add complexity to welfare support provision. Changing the scheme would mean reducing support for the most financially vulnerable placing increased pressure on low-income households in the district.

 

(5.35 pm – 5.36 pm)

 

(D)

 

114.

Allhallowgate Redevelopment Project: Forward Plan Ref 007HP18:

The Acting Executive Officer (Property Services) to submit a written report.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

114/18 –ALLHALLOWGATE REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT:  FORWARD PLAN

   REF 007HP18:  Further to Cabinet Minute 47/17, the Acting Executive Officer (Property Services) submitted a written report which provided an update on site investigation work in relation to the redevelopment of Allhallowgate flats.  This housing project sought to demolish poor quality properties and replace them with modern affordable housing, as well as improving the remaining adjacent flats at the site.  Extensive site investigations had been carried out resulting in the consultants recommending a design strategy which was considered to be both cost effective and practicable on site.

 

The report and its appendices set out the background to the project and details of work undertaken to date.  Full details of project costings and funding secured from Homes England for the project were included at Appendix C and a detailed consideration of project risks was attached at Appendix D.

 

Cabinet were requested to determine whether to progress with construction of both the new build flats and the refurbishment of the retained block.

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That     (1) the outcome of the site investigations and how they have informed the sub-structure design, associated risk and cost be noted;

 

            (2) the option to progress with the redevelopment of the Allhallowgate flats site now provides for the provision of 6 new townhouses, 12 new flats and the refurbishment of the retained block of 12 flats be noted;

 

            (3) (see exempt Minute)

 

            (4) on the basis of (2) and (3) above the Council progress with the project to construct new build properties and refurbish the retained block of flats;

 

            (5) provided that the revised Contract Sum does not exceed the estimated construction cost set out in Appendix C, the Cabinet Member for Housing and Safer Communities be given delegated authority to accept a revised Contract Sum. Should the construction cost estimate be exceeded by the revised Contract Sum, the matter would be returned to Cabinet for decision; and

 

            (6) (see exempt Minute)

 

Reasons for decision:

 

Cabinet agreed to undertake this project on 20 August 2014, in order to secure the long-term future of the social housing on this site, improving its quality and the contribution it makes to its historical, city-centre location.

 

The original successful tenderer, Geo. Houlton & Sons Ltd of Hull, (Houlton’s) has been a good working partner to date and has promised an “open book”, value engineered approach to the preparation of the revised construction costs and to conducting the contract thereafter.

 

Conditional delegation to the Cabinet Member will expedite swift progress to the start of construction should Cabinet choose to proceed.

 

The additional budget provision can be met by a combination of the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) working balance and potential further grant funding from Homes England of £360k (to be confirmed).  There will be no impact on the General Fund.

 

Alternative options considered and rejected:

 

Various draft proposals for possible other options for the site in the event that the recommendations (2) and (3) of this report are not agreed, were given at  ...  view the full minutes text for item 114.