Agenda item

Call in Red House Yard, 432 West Green Road N15 3PJ

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 located in the borough.  A Site Allocation identified housing allocations.  The planning application showed how the Mitalee Centre could be brought forward at a later date, however the current planning permission did not include the centre at all.

-                 The proposal would provide 88 homes across the whole site of which 46 would be Council homes.  If the Council were to build, there could potentially be 60 homes, of which not all could be Council homes as a wholly Council home scheme would not be viable.  The decision to proceed with Paul Simon Magic Homes was an on balance judgement.

-                 The Council had a contract with an option to buy back the site if the developer had not moved forward with any development.  The Council were buying back the properties, however, no money would be exchanged until the properties had been completed to the standard specified by the Council.

-                 Reports written by an external QC would not usually be made available to Committees, but the Monitoring Officer would provide comments on committee reports based on QC advice received.  The legal advice was set out at page 13 of the report, paragraph 8.6, and there would be further opportunities to discuss the exempt advice in the exempt part of the meeting.


Clerks note 9.39pm: the Chair advised that Committee Standing Orders would be suspended to allow the meeting to continue past 10pm.


Stephen Lawrence-Orumwense, Council Lawyer, introduced the Monitoring Officer’s report.  The report advised that the decision was within the policy and budgetary frameworks.  He advised that the decision could only be referred back to the decision maker (Cabinet), rather than to the Housing and Regeneration Scrutiny Panel.

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