Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Wednesday, 10th November, 2021 5.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Civic Centre, St Luke's Avenue, Harrogate HG1 2AE. This meeting will be livestreamed here: https://bit.ly/HarrogateYouTube (Copy and paste the link in your browser).. View directions

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

Items
No. Item

54.

Apologies for Absence:

Minutes:

An apology for absence had been received from Councillor Tim Myatt.  It was noted that Councillor Myatt was about to become a father and Cabinet extended congratulations to Tim and his wife Zoe.

 

(5.31 pm)

 

55.

Declarations of Interest:

Members to advise of any declarations of interest.

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.

 

(5.31 pm)

56.

Minutes: pdf icon PDF 285 KB

of the meeting of 13 October 2021

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Cabinet held on 13 October 2021 were approved unanimously as a correct record.

 

(5.31 pm)

 

57.

Exempt Information:

To determine whether to exclude the press and public during the consideration of any exempt information items – items 5, 9(part), 13(part) and 14(part)

Minutes:

The report at Minute 58/21 and Appendices to the reports at Minutes 62/21 and 67/21 were deemed to be exempt under paragraph 3 of Schedule 12a to the Local Government Act 1972. Discussion on the items took place in open session.

(5.32 pm)

 

58.

Capital and Investment Programme 2021/22 Quarter 2:

The Head of Finance to submit a written report.

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a written report and sought approval for the amended Capital and Investment Programme for 2021/22 and Indicative Programmes from 2022/23 to 2025/26.  The Council was taking a proactive approach to its asset management and ensuring that the return from investment was maximised and the Strategy assisted the Council in provision of corporate planning as schemes and funding for future years were approved.  Costs in the strategy were provisional high level estimates based on prices at the time and would vary as more detailed work was undertaken on projects.  A number of significant reviews would impact on the Capital and Investment Strategy in the future and these included the Sport and Leisure review, HCC Future Strategy and the Economic Growth Strategy.  Costs would vary as more detailed work was undertaken on the projects.

 

Section 6 of the report outlined the governance arrangements for the Programme, which was reported to Management Board before approval by Cabinet and Council in February alongside the revenue budget. 

 

The amended Capital Programme for 2021/22 to 2025/26 was outlined in Table 1 at paragraph 8.1 of the report, and further detail was given at Appendix 1.  Paragraph 8.2 provided an explanation of the changes which had resulted in an increase from the original approved programme.  The main change being in respect of investigative and remedial ground works at Ripon Leisure Centre, other changes included a new diving structure at the Hydro, decarbonisation works at HCC and works at properties on Knaresborough High Street. 

 

The amended Revenue Investment Programme for 2021/22 to 2025/26 was shown in Table 2, and further detail was given at Appendix 2, this was £181k less than the agreed programme as a result of works detailed at paragraph 8.4.  Section 9 set out the resources available to fund the programme, and Table 3 at paragraph 9.3 set out the anticipated capital receipts from the sale of assets.

 

Overall, capital and revenue expenditure of £58,418k was forecast in the amended five year rolling programme to 2026, which was an increase of £3,106k from the previously approved programmes.  The five year programme was fully funded, but there would be a shortfall of £971k in 2027/28.

 

RECOMMENDED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

The amended Programme for 2021/22 and Indicative Programmes from 2022/23 to 2025/26 are approved, noting that future developments around the Sport and Leisure review, Harrogate Convention Centre (HCC) and Economic Growth will have an impact on the figures in this report.

 

(5.32 pm to 5.34 pm)

 

59.

Treasury Management Strategy Statement and Annual Investment Strategy: Mid-Year Review 2021/22: pdf icon PDF 462 KB

The Head of Finance to submit a written report.

Minutes:

The Head of Finance (HoF) submitted a written report which provided a mid-year review of the authority’s Treasury Management activity and performance for the year 2021/22.  The Treasury Management Strategy had been approved by Council on 3 March 2021 and a mid-year review was required in accordance with the CIPFA Code of Practice on Treasury Management.  The primary requirements of the code were set out in Section 6 of the report.

 

Section 7 of the report set the context for the Council’s investment and borrowing strategy and provided an economic update for the first half of the year.  The Monetary Policy Committee had voted unanimously to keep the Bank Rate unchanged at 0.10% in September, and it remained committed to a 2% inflation target.  In introducing the report the HoF reported that since the report was written the forecast interest rate had changed to address inflationary issues in the economy and the advice was now that the bank rate would increase to 0.25% in December and an increase to 0.5% had been pencilled in for Quarter 2 of 2022.

 

Section 9 of the report provided an update on the Council’s capital expenditure plans, how such plans were to be financed and the impact of changes in the capital expenditure plans on the underlying need to borrow.  Section 10 gave details of the Council’s investment portfolio.  The Council’s budgeted investment return for 2021/22 was £218k and performance for the first six months was on budget.  Section 11 outlined borrowing activities for 2020/21.  No new external borrowing had been undertaken during the first six months of 2021/22 and it was not anticipated that there would be further borrowing this financial year.  Some of the current internal borrowing would be converted to external borrowing should it be financially advantageous to do so.

 

The HoF confirmed that the Council had not breached the approved limits within the Annual Investment Strategy and was on target to achieve the budgeted investment returns set out in the budget.  In response to a question from the Leader the HoF advised that the delay in the interest rate rise would not have a big effect on the Council’s finances as budgeted rates were very low.

 

RECOMMENDED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

To comply with the authority’s financial regulations and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA) Codes of Practice.

 

    (5.34 pm to 5.37 pm)

 

60.

Ripon Leisure Centre: pdf icon PDF 181 KB

The Director of Economy, Environment and Housing to submit a written report.

Minutes:

The Head of Operations, HCC, submitted a written report which provided an update on the main findings and recommendations in the report of the Council’s consulting engineer, Stantec UK Limited, following the completion of the investigative works that took place at part of the Ripon Leisure Centre (RLC) site.  Approval was sought to proceed with further investigative and subsequent remediation works in respect of the full RLC footprint.

 

At Cabinet on 26 May 2021, approval had been given for limited investigative and remedial works at RLC following the discovery of a void near the entrance.  Investigations had been overseen and interpreted by Stantec, a worldwide consulting company and the report before Members summarised the findings of Stantec’s report.  The investigatory works had covered 10-15% of the existing leisure centre and had concluded that significant karstic dissolution had affected the existing building since construction in 1995.  Mitigation strategies had been put forward including ground improvement grouting, build strengthening works and the installation of monitoring equipment.  The consultants had advised that further investigatory works be undertaken to the remainder of the building footprint.  Subject to the findings of the further work, remediation works to stabilise ground conditions could be undertaken at the same time.

 

On the advice of the consulting engineers, the first floor facilities of the building would remain open whilst the investigatory works were taking place.  RLC would close for the duration of the remedial works, which were expected to take approximately six months to complete and officers were pursuing other options to operate from alternative venues.  The insurance position as described in the Cabinet report of 26 May 2021 would still be applicable to ensure the continuation of insurance cover.

 

In response to questions from Members the Head of Operations described in detail the works to be undertaken and confirmed that the problems dated back to the initial construction of the Leisure Centre, but had only been discovered due to the dig for construction of the new pool.

 


 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That    (1) the main findings and mitigation strategies of the consulting engineers, which are set out in the body of this report, be noted;

 

(2) the pre-existing ground conditions affecting RLC and the need for the investigation and remedial works to RLC which will have no impact or effect on the construction or operation of the new swimming pool be noted;

 

(3) approval be given for the further works to RLC to be undertaken and that these works will be undertaken on a self-insured basis and notes the worst financial case scenario as set out in paragraph 5.5 of the Cabinet report of 26 May 2021;

 

(4) it be noted that the funding for these further investigative works, remedial works and potential permanent long term monitoring equipment to be installed at RLC, will be sought via the capital and investment programme;

 

(5) it be noted that until the remedial works commence and subject to any further advice from the consulting engineer, that RLC is able to continue to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.

61.

Local Government Reorganisation: pdf icon PDF 221 KB

The Head of Legal and Governance to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Legal and Governance submitted a written report setting out the position in relation to creating a town council for unparished areas in Harrogate and the process for preserving historic property, privileges, rights and traditions presently in place by virtue of the Harrogate District having Borough status.  An update on the draft Structural Changes Order was also provided.

 

In 1 April 2023 a new unitary authority would be formed covering the whole of North Yorkshire and Harrogate Borough Council would be dissolved.  There was currently no town or parish council covering the area of Harrogate town, and a community governance review would need to be undertaken to create a town council.  There was no mandate for Harrogate Borough Council to undertake such a review and on 7 July 2021 full Council passed a resolution recommending to a successor unitary authority that a community governance review was undertaken. 

 

In the absence of a town council, provision would need to be made for the preservation of ceremonial and civic functions including the role of Mayor and Deputy Mayor.  Where there was no town or parish council charter trustees could be established to preserve historic property, privileges, rights and traditions.  Charter trustees were comprised of councillors in the wards which covered the unparished area and could elect a Mayor and Deputy Mayor and set an annual precept to cover the running cost of the trustees.  Charter trustees would have no powers in respect of general functions or services within the area.

 

In order to implement the new unitary authority a Structural Changes Order (SCO) would be required, which would also create an Implementation Executive consisting of County Councillors and District Councillors from March 2022 until the elections in May 2022, when it would be replaced by the Executive of the newly elected council.  Joint working arrangements had been put in place to mirror the Implementation Executive prior to it being formally created, this Members Implementation Board would provide political oversight of the implementation plan until the SCO was in place and Members were asked to agree a Harrogate Borough Council representative on the Board.

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That   (1) officers write to the successor unitary authority in accordance with the wording of the Council resolution of 7 July;

 

(2) it be noted that officers have requested that government make provision in the SCO for the Implementation Executive for LGR to undertake preparations for conducting a community governance review for Harrogate town;

 

(3) Cabinet endorse the officer request to government for a Charter Trustee body to be established from 1 April 2023 for the unparished parts of Harrogate town thereby allowing the civic and ceremonial elements of the Borough of Harrogate to be maintained until such time that a parish or town council is established; and

 

(4) Councillor Graham Swift be the representative for Harrogate Council on the LGR Members Implementation Board.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

Harrogate had borough status, and in the absence of town/parish councils in the town centre area there needed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 61.

62.

2021/22 October Financial and Service Plan Performance Update: pdf icon PDF 342 KB

The Head of Finance to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a written report presenting the Council’s latest financial position along with a summary of service plan performance, on an exception basis.  The Council was currently reporting a forecast underspend of £436k on General Fund activity. 

 

The budget for 2021/22 included an estimated ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, which was expected to lessen as the year progressed.  Within the underspend figure was a forecast increased cost of the pandemic net of income compensation grant of £271k, though this was £278k less than Quarter 1.  This was more than offset by savings of £707k, which had increased by £126k since Quarter 1.  The improved position in relation to the pandemic cost was due to an improvement in income at HCC, which more than offset income shortfalls in other areas of the Council.

 

The key variances that made up the forecast were shown in Table 1 at paragraph 5.4 of the report. £762k related to salary savings across the Council, £339k of which was related to savings in Sport and Leisure as a result of the pandemic lockdown, and the remainder as a result of vacant posts and difficulties recruiting due to labour market shortages. Table 2 at paragraph 5.5 summarised the forecast budget variances by service, split between those attributed to COVID-19 and all other variances.  Table 3 at paragraph 5.6 provided a summary by service compared to the previous report in July.  Paragraph 5.7 provided further detail for each service and further detail for the Council’s key commercial areas was attached as exempt Appendices B to D to the report.   Exempt Appendices A and E provided reasons for HCC’s underspend of £936k and detailed lettings information.  Appendix F to the report showed how variances related to budgeted savings and increased income and overall there was a forecast over-delivery of net savings of £286k.

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Commission had also considered the report at its meeting held on 8 November 2021.  The Commission had requested the Head of Finance feed back its comments to Cabinet which were that the financial position was noted and that some service specific follow up information had been requested and would be provided in due course.

 

The Leader referred to the recruitment problems which were affecting the whole labour market and the number of vacancies the Council was carrying and, on behalf of Cabinet and Council, thanked staff for going above and beyond to keep services running.  The Leader also referred to the recovery of HCC following the pandemic and how it was contributing to improved hotel occupancy rates and thanked staff at HCC for their contribution to this. 

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That the Council’s current financial position, a forecast underspend of £436k, and service plan exception reporting, is noted.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

It was good financial discipline that regular reporting was presented to Management and Members so as to ensure expenditure remained within budget, that potential underspends were highlighted and areas that were off target were highlighted and mitigating actions  ...  view the full minutes text for item 62.

63.

Corporate Performance Report Q2 2021-22: pdf icon PDF 720 KB

The Improvement and Development Manager to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Improvement and Development Manager submitted a written report which provided an update on the quarter one progress on the measures within the Corporate Delivery Plan.  In introducing the report the Director of Corporate Affairs reported that 71 actions were on target.

 

Appendix 1 to the report provided an update on performance against the Corporate Delivery Plan priorities and Appendix 2 contained the Corporate Health Report showing progress against the various performance indicators. The report had previously been received by Management Board, whose comments were incorporated into the report at section 8. 

 

The Overview and Scrutiny Commission had also considered and noted the report at its meeting held on 8 November 2021.  The Commission had requested the Director of Corporate Affairs feed back its comments to Cabinet which were that it supported the comments of Management Board with particular emphasis on monitoring the length of stay in temporary bed and breakfast accommodation, the length of time to re-let local authority housing and the importance of offering mental health support to staff.  The Commission thanked staff across all areas of the Council for all their hard work at a challenging time.

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That the report be received and the comments from Management Board and the Overview and Scrutiny Commission be noted.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

Our Corporate Plan set out our long-term vision for the Harrogate district, our aim as an organisation, our corporate priorities and the long term outcomes that we wanted to achieve. The Delivery Plan was updated on an annual basis and detailed what we would do, what our targets were and how we would measure these. This report tracked our progress against the Delivery Plan.

 

Alternative options considered and recommended for rejection:

 

No alternative options were considered as reporting progress on the Council’s Corporate Delivery Plan performance was a key part of the Council’s performance management arrangements.

 

(6.02 pm to 6.12 pm)

 

 (D)

 

64.

Housing Investment Programme 2021/22 Monitoring: pdf icon PDF 148 KB

The Head of Finance to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Finance submitted a written report which provided the latest forecast for the Housing Investment Programme (HIP) for 2021/22 and highlighted the main variances between this latest forecast and the budget. 

 

On 3 February 2021, Cabinet had approved the HIP for 2021/22 with a forecast expenditure of £10,543k. On 18 August 2021, a Quarter 1 report was presented to Cabinet with a revised programme of £10,068k. The latest forecast programme as at October 2021 had decreased to £9,029k and a full breakdown of the budget and how the programme would be resourced was shown at Appendix 1.

 

The report gave details of the key variations in the programme.  Within the planned maintenance budget there had been an increase in disabled adaptations and a corresponding decrease in heating and boiler renewal.  Delays to the Dene Park scheme and not progressing the Killinghall new build had resulted in reductions to the housing development budget, although eight new builds/refurbishments were expected to be completed in the year.  Material shortages had led to delays at Castle Hill Whinney Lane leading to the purchase of 14 properties slipping into 2022/23.  

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That the report is received and the position noted.

 

 

 

 

Reason for decision:

 

The individual schemes and the overall funding levels needed to be reported for capital budget monitoring purposes.

 

Alternative option considered and recommended for rejection:

 

Not to report. This would mean the Council would not be adequately monitoring capital expenditure.

(6.00 pm to 6.02 pm)

 

 (D)

 

65.

The Harrogate Convention Centre: Public Sector De-carbonisation Scheme:

This item has been withdrawn from the agenda.

Minutes:

This item was withdrawn prior to the meeting.

 

66.

Housing and Property Self Drive Vehicle Hire - Forward Plan Ref: 45HP21:

This item has been withdrawn from the agenda.

Minutes:

This item was withdrawn prior to the meeting.

 

67.

Disposal of Council Owned Land off Claro Road, Harrogate - Forward Plan Ref: 46ED21: pdf icon PDF 293 KB

The Strategic Estates Surveyor to submit a written report.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Officer Strategic Property and Major Projects submitted a written report in which authority was sought to proceed with the sale of council-owned land off Claro Road and Hambleton Road.  The land had previously been a children’s play area but was now disused and overgrown and to the west of the site was a care home for younger adults with physical disabilities.  The purchaser was a non-profit registered provider offering housing and support to people with disabilities and a scheme had been drafted to replace the existing care home with flats for independent supported living, which was more suitable.  Purchase of the land would enable the purchaser to phase the development, moving residents into a newly constructed block on the land, before demolishing the existing home and constructing two further blocks.  The proposed terms of disposal were set out at exempt Appendix A.  Appendices B and C provided a site plan and photographs of the land.

 

Disposal of the asset would provide a capital receipt, bring a disused area of land back into use and enable the development of an additional block of flats providing affordable supported living accommodation.

 

RESOLVED (UNANIMOUSLY):

 

That   (1) approval be given to the sale of the former play area land, off Claro Road and Hambleton Road, Harrogate, on the terms set out at exempt Appendix A; and

 

(2) the Head of Legal and Governance be given authority to prepare and enter into any necessary legal documents to conclude the sale and other matters related thereto.

 

Reasons for decision:

 

The disposal would provide a valuable capital receipt as well as bringing a disused area of land back into use.

 

Disposal of this asset would enable the development of an additional block of flats, providing affordable rent, supported living accommodation, for people with learning and physical disabilities.

 

The disposal would also allow the phasing of the redevelopment of the adjacent site, to mean that the occupants could transfer to a new block, before the existing home was demolished and redeveloped.

 

Alternative options considered and recommended for rejection:

 

Not to proceed with the sale of the asset would result in the loss of a capital receipt from an asset that was not expected to increase significantly in value in the future and that was also a potential liability in relation to maintenance.

 

Not to proceed with the disposal may also mean that the adjacent site was not redeveloped to provide more suitable accommodation.

 

(6.12 pm to 6.15 pm)

 

 (D)