Agenda and minutes

Cabinet - Monday 8 December 2014 7.00 pm

Venue: Room 8, Lambeth Town Hall, Brixton Hill, SW2 1RW. View directions

Contact: Katy Shaw, Tel: 020 7926 2225 Email: kshaw3@lambeth.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Declarations of Pecuniary Interest

Under Cabinet Rule 1.5.2, where any Cabinet Member has a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest (as defined in the Members’ Code of Conduct (para. 4)) in any matter to be considered at a meeting of the Council, a committee, sub-committee or joint committee, they must withdraw from the meeting room during the whole of the consideration of that matter and must not participate in any vote on that matter unless a dispensation has been obtained from the Monitoring Officer.

Minutes:

Councillor Jackie Meldrum, Cabinet Member for Children and Adults Services, declared a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest in item 4 on the agenda, Housing Revenue Account and Budget Setting 2015/16 and left the meeting during the discussion of this item.

2.

Minutes of Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 129 KB

To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 10 November 2014.

Minutes:

RESOLVED: That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 10 November 2014 be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record of the proceedings.

3.

Housing Revenue Account Rent and Budget Setting 2015/2016 pdf icon PDF 161 KB

    (Report No: 109/14-15)

    Key decision, all wards

     

    Report authorised by: Strategic Director Commissioning: Helen Charlesworth-May

     

    Portfolio: Cabinet Member Housing: Councillor Matthew Bennett

     

    Contact for enquiries: Julie Curtis, Senior Accountant – HRA, Integrated Support, Enabling, 020 7926 3558 jcurtis@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    (Agenda item 3) (Key Decision – call-in deadline ends on Friday 19 December 2014)

     

    Councillor Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Housing, introduced the report, which set out the proposed increases to rents and service charges and well as the position of the overall HRA. A 2.9 percent increase in rents was recommended as this level would help avoid a deficit within the HRA. Proposals had been developed in close consultation with Lambeth Living and Housing Area Forums. Tenants Council had also been consulted and had supported a 2.2 percent increase to rents however an increase at this level would bring the HRA into a deficit. A 5 percent reduction in communal service charges was also proposed.

     

    Cabinet received the following representation:

     

    ·         Ron Hollis, member of the Tenants Council Executive, noted that it was important to look at the broader context for the rent increase and the overall increase to costs to many tenants across the borough. Poverty was increasing in Lambeth, with many families not being able to afford the basics in life. Poor health arising from unfit housing conditions was also on the rise in the borough and it was crucial that the Council did everything in its power to protect the most vulnerable in the borough. He recommended that rents were increased no higher than 2.1 percent to protect those most at risk in the borough.

     

    The Leader of the Council, Councillor Lib Peck, thanked Ron Hollis for his contribution which she felt described an accurate picture of the current situation for many people in the borough. She further noted that increasing rents at the recommended level had been a difficult decision for Members as they understood the difficulties that residents had to deal with in the current financial climate.

     

     

    The Deputy Leader, Policy, welcomed the comments made by the Leader of the Council and noted that the proposed rent increase was understandably difficult for many residents but also stated that much proactive work was being carried out around financial resilience across the borough which would assist residents in coping with the continuing difficult financial situation.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    1.    To note the approach to setting tenant and leasehold service charges, and garage and parking charges.

     

    2.    To increase rents by 2.9%, giving due regard to feedback from Area Forums and Tenants’ Council.

     

    3.    To agree the proposed growth and savings for 2015/16.

     

    4.    To agree the HRA budget for 2015/16.


     

     

     

4.

Building the homes we need to house the people of Lambeth pdf icon PDF 145 KB

    (Report 108/14-15)

    Key decision, all wards

     

    Report Authorised by: Strategic Director Commissioning: Helen Charlesworth May and Strategic Director Delivery: Sue Foster

     

    Portfolio: Cabinet Member Housing: Cllr Matthew Bennett

     

    Contact for enquiries:

    Neil Vokes, Programme Director Strategic Capital Projects, Business, Growth and Regeneration, 020 7926 3068, nvokes@lambeth.gov.uk

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    (Agenda item 3) (Key Decision – call-in deadline ends Friday 19 December 2014)

     

    Councillor Matthew Bennett, Cabinet Member for Housing, introduced the report, noting that the report was a demonstration of the way in which the Administration was living up to its election manifesto in respect of building new homes for residents in the borough, where there continued to be a significant housing need. Thousands of people were currently on the waiting lists for housing in the borough and many families were living in overcrowded or unsuitable homes and it was important the Council continued to address such fundamental issues to enable residents to live in decent homes. Ensuring decent housing for residents had a number of benefits on other aspects of people’s lives including children’s education, growth, financial sustainability and security and jobs. The report set out further the funding available to build new homes over coming years and the funding gap faced by the council in future years. Finally, he noted that the council was committed to continuous co-production with residents in the bid to provide decent homes for residents in coming years.

     

    Cabinet received the following representation:

     

    ·         Ron Hollis, Member of the Tenants Council Executive, noted that certain estates in the borough continued to experience significant problems, including Clapham Park North and Myatts Field, and many tenants who had moved across to other estates had not been notified of the difference in rents. The borough was in dire need of decent affordable housing but what often happened was that housing was built which was not affordable to the majority of residents, therefore an increase in social housing was crucial going forward.

     

    The Leader of the Council thanked Ron Hollis for his contribution and noted that many housing estates had been much improved and were no longer associated with crime and anti-social behaviour.  This would not have been possible without the decent homes programme.

     

    The Programme Director, Strategic Capital Programmes, addressed Cabinet, noting that residents who could demonstrate that they were paying rents at social housing level would be able to bid for housing first. In respect of reasonable rent levels, this was something which could be looked into further, potentially setting up a panel to look at rent levels going forward. He finally noted it was important to have absolute clarity on the chargeable level of rents and the formula used for charging rents. 

     

    The Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Jane Edbrooke, welcomed the new innovative new ways of financing new builds in the borough, as set out in the report.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Children and Adults Services, Councillor Jackie Meldrum, stated that she was pleased about the prospects of the new homes in the borough and in particular the effort made to allow people to live independently in their own homes for as long as possible, which was a very positive thing.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Jobs and Growth, Councillor Jack Hopkins, thanked the Programme Director, Strategic Capital Programmes, and his colleagues for all  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Financial Planning Report - Revenue & Capital Budget 2015/16-2017/18 pdf icon PDF 245 KB

    (Report 111/14-15)

    Key decision, all wards

     

    Report Authorised by: Strategic Director Enabling: Guy Ware

     

    Portfolio: Deputy Leader (Finance & Investment): Councillor Paul McGlone:

     

    Contact for enquiries: Frank Higgins, Head of Financial Strategy, Strategic Finance, 020 7926 9316, fhiggins@lambeth.gov.uk

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    (Agenda item 6) (Key Decision – call-in deadline ends Friday 19 December 2014)

     

    The Deputy Leader, Finance and Investment, introduced the report, noting that the recommendations in the report were asking for agreement to changes to agreed savings. The report set out the financial challenges faced by the Council, which were set to continue given the recent government announcement to continue the programme of austerity for some years to come. The political response to this at Lambeth was to harness the benefits of economic growth, building new homes and nurturing partnership working including work carried out with health partners and schools. A set of plans had been developed to deliver the required savings gap of £90m and the Council had managed to deliver a balanced budget over the next two years. He emphasised that an important contribution to closing the savings gap would come from an increase in council tax, and whilst it was fully understood that this was very difficult for residents given the overall financial constraints faced by many, it was important to generate additional income from council tax to enable the Council to continue to deliver the best possible outcomes for residents.

     

    The Deputy Leader, Policy, noted that she did not agree with the government’s continued attack on deprived areas; however, it was important to make every effort to continue to deliver the best outcomes for residents despite this and the Council was working closely with a range of partners to achieve this.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods, Councillor Jane Edbrooke, noted that revenue was being used wisely to produce the best outcomes for residents and additionally, the Council was continuously trying to generate additional income where possible to counterbalance the reduction in funding. She mentioned a recent decision to move to a new CCTV system across the borough which would save the Council a significant amount of money which could then be spent elsewhere. There would be some difficult decisions around community safety in coming months but she noted that the Council was working closely with key partners to continue to deliver on key outcomes within the community safety area.

     

    The Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Jim Dickson, noted that the current savings target was the largest that the Council had ever had to take out of its budget and the figure was set to increase still further. It was therefore anticipated that there would be some very difficult decisions to take over the next few months and years but officers and Members alike continued to work incredibly hard to ensure that the best possible outcomes continued to be delivered to residents in spite of this challenge. It would be important to continue to be honest and transparent with residents and key stakeholders in respect of the difficult decisions that would need to be made. Reconfiguration of services was a key part of being able to deliver excellent services, including for example the planned future integration of health and social care. 

     

    The Cabinet  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Your New Town Hall: 1 Town Hall Parade, Resolution to make a Compulsory Purchase Order pdf icon PDF 199 KB

    Report No: 110/14-15)

    Key decision, Brixton Hill Ward

     

    Report Authorised by: Strategic Director Delivery: Sue Foster

     

    Portfolio: Deputy Leader of the Council (Finance & Investment): Cllr Paul McGlone

     

    Contact for enquiries: Mark Hynes, Borough Solicitor and Director of Corporate Affairs mhynes@lambeth.gov.uk; 020 7926 2209

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    (Agenda item 5) (Key Decision – call-in deadline ends on the Friday 19 December 2014)

     

    The Deputy Leader, Finance and Investment, introduced the report, noting that the proposals were necessary for the further development of the Town Hall parade site.

     

    The Director of Corporate Affairs noted that it was hoped that negotiations regarding the piece of land currently owned by the Fridge Bar would be fruitful and the Compulsory Purchase Order powers would not need to be used. He also referred to a typo in the report – the last sentence should read ‘it is in the interests of the economic well-being of the community’ rather than ‘it is in the interests of the economic well-being of the country’.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

     

    (1)          To authorise the making of the London Borough of Lambeth (1 Town Hall Parade, Brixton Hill) Compulsory Purchase Order pursuant to the powers in section 226(1) (a) of the Town & Country Planning Act 1990 as amended by the Planning & Compulsory Purchase Act 2004 (the “1990 Act”) to acquire the land shown edged red and shaded pink on the plan at attached Appendix.

     

    (2)          To authorise the Deputy Leader (Finance & Investment) to negotiate and enter into agreements which are needed to acquire the land and interests in the CPO by agreement in advance of, and subsequent to, the making of the CPO and to approve agreements and undertakings with the owners and/or occupiers of the land in the CPO so as to facilitate its acquisition.

     

    (3)          To authorise the Head of Legal to arrange for a land referencing exercise (including the service of statutory requisitions) to be undertaken to identify all parties with interests in the land shown edged red on the plan at attached Appendix.

     

    (4)          To delegate authority to the Head of Legal to settle the extent of the land to be included in the CPO and associated documentation including (but not limited to) the Statement of Reasons which will be served on affected parties following the making of the CPO and which will set out the justification for making the CPO.

     

    (5)          To authorise the Deputy Leader of the Council (Finance and Investment) to take all the necessary steps to pursue the CPO and secure its confirmation.

     

    (6)          To authorise the Deputy Leader of the Council (Finance and Investment), following the confirmation of the CPO to implement the CPO powers and acquire title to and/or take possession of the land.