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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.
There were none.
To approve and sign the minutes of the previous meeting held on 17 December 2018 a a correct record of proceedings.
RESOLVED: That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 17 December be approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record of proceedings.
The Cabinet Member for Planning, Investment and New Homes, Councillor Matthew Bennett, introduced the report and highlighted:
· This report delivered the original objectives of the project via Homes for Lambeth (HfL) for Somerleyton Road, as spearheaded by Brixton Green (agenda pack, page 11).
· These proposals would deliver 300 homes with 50% affordable housing for local families.
· HfL, as a 100% council-owned developer, meant that the Council was not partnering with housing associations or private developers, and was what Brixton Green had campaigned for.
· Lambeth would look to establish a community steering group to progress the proposals.
· Future proposals also included the Ovalhouse Theatre relocation to Carlton Mansions and would be part of the enterprise zone delineated by Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.
Cabinet next heard from Dinah Roake, Brixton Green, who provided the following representations:
· More questions had been raised by this paper and officers needed to meet with Brixton Green and match their input to resolve remaining issues.
· The claims in paragraphs 1.5, 1.8, 1.10, and 1.11 (agenda pack, pages 11-12) were not correct and Lambeth officers had not regularly met with Brixton Green.
· Brixton Green objected to Lambeth’s autumn 2018 decision to move away from a community-led approach and did not feel that the appraisal was robust, in particular by not maximising social housing and that there was no evidence HfL could deliver the Scheme.
· The report did not meet Lambeth’s 28 day publication protocol, did not include previous reports, and residents had only been aware of this meeting two days beforehand. This meant that it had not been possible to consult with and receive input from Brixton Green members.
· This was no longer a community-led scheme, but needed the community to develop proposals.
· The paper called for a formal community Steering Group, but only a resident consultation group was possible without control of management or buildings; and the Council was expected to do better.
Andrew Travers, Chief Executive; Alison McKane, Head of Legal Services and HR; and, Jed Young, Assistant Director for Housing Regeneration, responded to the points raised as follows:
· Jed Young, Assistant Director for Housing Regeneration, stated that he had been seconded to HfL as an Interim Managing Director.
· The decision was for Cabinet, and so only members need to declare interests.
· The Council effectively had absolute control over HfL as it was wholly council-owned and directed, so a model of co-production with strong resident involvement could be serviced.
· Councillors and the Council had worked in good faith over several years to deliver, and had explored alternative delivery methods with Brixton Green.
· It was not possible for Brixton Green or a Somerleyton Road Trust development vehicle to raise the required investment of £50-80m without private sector input.
· A private sector partner providing funding or serving as guarantor would require the Council to go through procurement processes to identify risk holders, whilst the HfL remained a better vehicle.
· The proposals enabled the Council to work with Brixton Green and other organisations to hold onto the vision, ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
The Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Paul Gadsby, introduced the report, noting:
· This report set out an overview of council tenants’ rents and service charges, and Housing Revenue Account (HRA) budget proposals.
· Government policy had placed the HRA under pressure, and whilst tenants might be pleased with the 1% cap, this had substantial long-term funding impacts – representing a £40m loss to the HRA over four years – although the paper delivered the foundations to deliver against these challenges.
· The HRA remained on an adequate financial footing via its 30 year Business Plan, and further efficiencies made to reduce costs and pressures, and continuing. In addition, progress continued on major upgrades with 28,835 homes brought up to the Lambeth Housing Standard (LHS).
· The Council had undertaken substantial fire risk assessments and fire safety inspections, and these, alongside cladding tests, would continue into the future.
· The report also set out the slight overall decrease of service charge provisions.
Councillor Jackie Meldrum noted the £28m shortfall and the difficulty of running services with such cuts; however, she welcomed the new personalised service charges for certain tenants, with the potential to extend more widely to older tenants or those with health issues, similar to the sheltered housing scheme.
Christina Thompson, Acting Strategic Director for Corporate Resources, noted that the rationale for reducing service charges was the reduction in running costs of services had been passed onto tenants and leaseholders
The Cabinet Member for Housing, Councillor Paul Gadsby, summarised discussion noting the ongoing £2m fire testing programme; that the Council was continuously looking to maximise safety and improve its stock; and was confident that Lambeth’s properties were safe and up to standard.
1. To note the approach to setting tenant and leasehold service charges, garage, parking and supported housing charges.
2. To note the reduction in rents of 1%, as set out in the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016.
3. To note the October 2018 financial forecast position as detailed in paragraph 2.1.
4. To agree the proposed growth and savings for 2019/20 as set out in paragraphs 2.8 – 2.9 and Appendix 3.
5. To agree the HRA Budget for 2019/20 as set out in Appendix 4.
The report was introduced by the Deputy Leader of the Council (Jobs, Skills and Performance), Councillor Jack Hopkins, who highlighted that performance indicators were heading in the right direction, which was an impressive feat in light of central Government policy and funding cuts, and with increased demand across all services.
Cabinet Members made the following observations:
· The Dedicated Schools Grant (DSG) would be removed nationally and would add pressure on SEND funding, but Lambeth would continue to lobby Government.
· The red-rated areas in the Health and Adult Social Care portfolios were due to cuts to these areas, but improvement was expected with new teams in place to meet demand.
1. Note the budget monitor.
2. Consider performance for Q2 as a whole and the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that have been highlighted as being of concern.
The Deputy Leader of the Council (Children and Young People), Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite, introduced the report and noted Lambeth’s success in supplying primary and secondary places, providing an additional 27 forms of entry (Appendix C), four new secondary schools, 165 additional SEN places and 78 places at Vanguard Special School for 2020. The paper demonstrated a clear need to focus on the delivery of additional second school places and set out reasons for increased demand.
Councillor Jackie Meldrum addressed Cabinet and expressed her concern at the shortage of places in West Norwood and Streatham, but noted the Council’s £200m expenditure on schools over the last seven years to generate places and provide fantastic schools for the borough, especially after inheriting a local school system in a terrible state.
Cabinet Members raised the following points in discussion:
· 95% of Lambeth schools were now rated as good or outstanding and noted the improvement from being in special measures as opposed to Rotherham’s schools which were still under review.
· The report was exemplary in its use of information and data.
· The apparent lack of places in south Lambeth was concerning.
Cathy Twist, Director for Education & Learning; Maggie Harriott, Education Strategy Manager; and, Kamran Rashid, Interim Assistant Director for Schools and Community Programmes, responded to questions as below:
· Officers were concentrating on secondary provision and welcomed Harris School sixth form receiving planning permission.
· No complaints had been received from West Norwood nor Streatham in recent years and officers reassured Cabinet that residents had school places available, however the Norwood School was a small school and was why it had received a red-rating.
· The town centre categorisation formula used was clarified every year with the Department for Education (DfE). A pupil place planning process review by peer review from another local authority had taken place in 2015 (agenda pack, page 128) and reported the process as accurate and being ‘good’, utilising the right data sources and of sound methodology.
· Officers would review the language used in the agenda pack (page 138) to describe the number of available secondary school places.
· Officers would manage any decline, such as potentially occurring after Brexit, and could attempt to do so by reducing published admission numbers (PANs) in agreement with schools.
· The Basic Needs Grant cessation in 2019/20 would be met by increasing completion of school capacity (SCAP) returns, however there was flexibility and more places were not required.
· The most difficult aspect of prediction was the child yield, such as establishing the number of children from new estate builds; however, they remained largely accurate.
· Bishop Thomas Grant might not need a bulge class, but it would be helpful if the Southwark Diocese were to take part in any discussion; noting renovation was still required.
The Deputy Leader of the Council (Children and Young People), Councillor Jennifer Brathwaite, concluded the discussion, emphasising the breadth of improvement from the borough’s historically poor school standards and the turnaround where Lambeth was a net importer of pupils to secondary schools and standards ... view the full minutes text for item 6.