Venue: Civic Centre, High Road, Wood Green, N22 8LE. View directions
Contact: Philip Slawther, Principal Committee Co-ordinator
FILMING AT MEETINGS
Please note that this meeting may be filmed or recorded by the Council for live or subsequent broadcast via the Council’s internet site or by anyone attending the meeting using any communication method. Although we ask members of the public recording, filming or reporting on the meeting not to include the public seating areas, members of the public attending the meeting should be aware that we cannot guarantee that they will not be filmed or recorded by others attending the meeting. Members of the public participating in the meeting (e.g. making deputations, asking questions, making oral protests) should be aware that they are likely to be filmed, recorded or reported on.
By entering the meeting room and using the public seating area, you are consenting to being filmed and to the possible use of those images and sound recordings.
The chair of the meeting has the discretion to terminate or suspend filming or recording, if in his or her opinion continuation of the filming, recording or reporting would disrupt or prejudice the proceedings, infringe the rights of any individual or may lead to the breach of a legal obligation by the Council.
Apologies for Absence
Apologies for absence were received from Mark Chapman.
It being a special meeting under Part 4, Section B, paragraph 17 of the Council’s Constitution, no other business shall be considered at the meeting.
Declarations of Interest
A member with a disclosable pecuniary interest or a prejudicial interest in a matter who attends a meeting of the authority at which the matter is considered:
(i) must disclose the interest at the start of the meeting or when the interest becomes apparent, and
(ii) may not participate in any discussion or vote on the matter and must withdraw from the meeting room.
A member who discloses at a meeting a disclosable pecuniary interest which is not registered in the Register of Members’ Interests or the subject of a pending notification must notify the Monitoring Officer of the interest within 28 days of the disclosure.
Disclosable pecuniary interests, personal interests and prejudicial interests are defined at Paragraphs 5-7 and Appendix A of the Members’ Code of Conduct
To consider any requests received in accordance with Part 4, Section B, paragraph 29 of the Council’s constitution.
The Chair outlined the procedure to be followed for the meeting. There had been two deputation requests received, which had been accepted by the Chair.
Deputation one – Hilary Adams, Jacob Secker, Doug Fore, Natasha Siverandan, Stuart McNamara and Philip Rose.
The main points raised in the deputation were:
- A lack of public accountability. Costs and profits were contained in the exempt report, and members of the public were therefore unable to make an assessment as to whether the decision represented value for money. Exempt information was only available to a small percentage of elected councillors, which was not a sufficiently robust basis for decision making. The decision felt like an exercise in smoke and mirrors – an overly complicated decision, shrouded in mystery.
- The political manifesto was to build Council homes on Council land. The site should be used to build only Council homes, and proper negotiation needed to be carried out with the church in regard to access rights.
The deputation party responded to questions from the Committee:
- The decision should be subject to full scrutiny by the Housing Scrutiny Panel, and Cabinet should revisit the decision in light of the concerns raised.
- Public perception was that the public had been pushed out of the way in order to benefit private developers, and there was a worry that if all plans to build future Council housing were under the purview of an arrangement where developers received beneficial deals, then it would be the ‘HDV by stealth’.
- The issue with the plan was that 46 units would not address the issues of the thousands of families on the waiting list for homes. The Council needed a strategy to address this problem.
- Some of the deputation party considered that the Council were in breach of their equalities duties. There was no evidence of an EQIA for the closure of the community space.
- A proper evaluation of the cost to the Council to build the properties in-house was requested – without this a proper assessment of the decision could not be made.
Councillor Adje and Councillor Ibrahim responded to the deputation. Whilst the concerns over exempt information were taken on board, it was necessary as the information was commercially sensitive. In regard to the number of homes, developing the whole site would not solve the housing crisis in Haringey, but the decision had been made on balance to provide 46 homes for families in Haringey.
The Council’s Lawyer advised that the equalities duties were outlined at paragraphs 8.10-8.18 of the Cabinet report.
Deputation two – Gulum Choudhry (Mitalee Community Centre).
Mr Choudhry addressed the Committee to raise his concerns over the decision. The report seemed to raise the possibility of the community centre being at risk, and he wished to put on record his concern of the effect this would have on the people who use the Mitalee centre.
Mr Choudhry responded to questions from the Committee:
- His understanding was that the development ... view the full minutes text for item 55.
a) Cabinet Report on Red House Yard, 432 West Green Road N15 3PJ
b) Cabinet Minutes on Red House Yard, 432 West Green Road N15 3PJ
c) Copy of the Call in
d) Report of the Director for Housing, Regeneration and Planning responding to the Call in – To follow
e) Report of the Monitoring Officer and Director of Finance on the Call in - To Follow
Councillors Davies, Hakata and Gordon introduced the call-in, and set out the main points:
- The building project was out of line with the Labour Group manifesto commitment to build Council housing on its’ own land.
- The deal did not meet best value performance considerations, and there was no alternative value for money options set out for the Council to build the development.
- The development was contrary to Development Management Policies 11, 13 and 50.
- The deal would lead to the Council losing 46% of land it currently owned on the site.
- The Council wanted to provide more homes, and this could be achieved if the Council built the homes.
- The information provided in the exempt papers should be subject to full public scrutiny.
- The maps showing the development were confusing – sometimes the pub was included, and sometimes the Mitalee centre.
- The timescale comparisons needed to be challenged as there was no proof that it would take longer for the Council to build.
- Members understood that it would be possible for the Council to build 60 homes on the site.
Members responded to questions from the Committee:
- One of the key factors included in the exempt information was the viability assessment, which would be useful to have included in the public information.
- It also would have been useful to have seen the advice provided by the external QC.
- Members were in favour of development on the site, but considered that the Cabinet decision was flawed, as it was based on limited information in relation to exploring other options.
Councillor Adje and Councillor Ibrahim responded to Cllrs Davies, Hakata and Gordon. The issue of procurement was a non-issue, as the arrangement was ‘sale and purchase’ and therefore did not need to follow the OJEU process. Ward Councillors were provided with the exempt information under the ‘need to know’ requirement, so it was not fair to say that this had not been seen by Members outside of the Cabinet.
Dan Hawthorn, Director of Housing, Regeneration and Planning, introduced the officer response to the call-in, and invited questions from the Committee. Officers, Councillor Adje and Councillor Ibrahim responded to questions:
- As part of the programme, officers had worked up timescales for the Council to take the scheme forward, and indicative timings showed that to get to the same stage as Paul Simon Magic Homes would take 18-24 months. This would include the formal consultation and planning processes.
- The programme to achieve the 1000 homes target would be a mixture of direct delivery and working in partnership with developments to either buy through s106 money or on council owned land. The earliest delivery would be properties built by developers.
- This programme was not comparable with the HDV. The outcome would be 46 council homes, with no ongoing partnership arrangement with the developers.
- A Site Allocation document was part of the Local Plan, which detailed where development could be ... view the full minutes text for item 56.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
RESOLVED that the press and public be excluded from the remainder of the meeting as the items below contain exempt information, as defined under paragraph 3 and 5, Part 1, schedule 12A of the Local Government Act.
Call in Red House Yard 432 West Green Road N15 3PJ
To consider exempt information pertaining to item 6 of the agenda.
The Committee considered exempt information pertaining to item 6 of the agenda.
The Committee resumed the meeting in public to announce their decision:
The Committee considered the reports, and responses to questions raised during the discussion and decided that the decision was within the policy and budgetary frameworks, and it should be referred back to the decision maker within a number of recommendations from the Committee.
1. That Cabinet defer final decision on the matter until an alternative and fully costed option for direct delivery of the scheme by the Council is developed, shared and considered fully. The Borough Plan emphasises the building of Council homes on Council land and this commitment should be honoured by the Council through it retaining ownership of the freehold of sites and building homes itself wherever possible;
2. Cabinet should consider how trust, accountability and transparency may be enhanced when making key decisions. In particular, specific consideration should be given to how professional legal advice can best be recorded and shared so that a clear understanding can be gained of the substance of advice given and to what extent key decision makers have been party to that advice and their understanding of it. Cabinet should consider how this advice can be made available even if only as an exempt item;
3. That clear reasons be provided for the selection of developers in future acquisitions and disposals of land, with recognition that transparency demands clarity of why selections are made.
4. When the development of sites is being considered, a process of identification of all key stakeholders should take place and they should be included fully in the process. All reports should make clear what engagement and consultation has taken place and with whom;
5. There be better co-ordination between different Council teams when providing reports and/or information on cross cutting issues. In particular, there should be clarity and consistency on the borders of development sites across all relevant documentation in order to avoid confusion;
6. Although the Cabinet report made reference to Public Sector Equality duties under the Equality Act, all housing related proposals should have their own, stand alone, Equalities Impact Assessment that outlines risks and how they will be mitigated to allow the Council to meet fully its legal obligations;
7. That it be noted that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee will be including issues arising from this matter within its future work planning processes.