Agenda and minutes

Companies Committee - Tuesday, 4th February, 2020 2.00 pm

Venue: Witham Room - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

Contact: Jo Toomey 

No. Item


Disclosure of interests

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    Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting


    Minute 17 - Gravitas Housing Limited

    Minute 18 - Wherry’s Lane Management Company Limited

    Councillor Benn declared a personal interest in the above items due to his activity as an attorney in an impending purchase of a property in Wherry’s Lane from Gravitas on behalf of his brother. He also referred to a close relative being employed by Lambert Smith Hampton on a different project in another area, being the company that was managing the various general fund investment properties. 


Minutes of the meeting held on 7 January 2020 pdf icon PDF 190 KB

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    The minutes of the meeting held on 7 January 2020 were agreed as a correct record.


    The action sheet was considered and updated as follows:


    ·         the draft notes of the InvestSK AGM be circulated to the Committee by email, it was noted these would be formally considered at the next AGM

    ·         the InvestSK articles had been reviewed by the Legal Team and it was confirmed that they reflected the model Articles of Association except where they provided more control to the Council. Also they were consistent with the model articles particularly around the question of indemnity for directors. The articles would be considered when InvestSK was next included on the Committee’s agenda

    ·         the Chair of the Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee be asked when Community Infrastructure Levy would be considered and report the date back to the Companies Committee


Collaboration Agreement relating to Saint Martin's Park, Stamford pdf icon PDF 206 KB

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    Report of the Leader of the Council


    Additional documents:


    The Assistant Director for Growth presented the Leader’s report on the Collaboration Agreement relating to Saint Martin’s Park, Stamford.  She referred to the Cabinet’s agreement at its meeting on 21 January 2020 to enter into a contractual Collaboration Agreement with Burghley Land Limited, as set out in the Heads of Terms, to bring forward the redevelopment of circa 35 acres of land for commercial, residential and retirement uses on a 50/50 shared development cost and profit basis. The matter was brought before the Companies Committee to scrutinise the decision.


    The following matters were raised


    ·         Should the project be progressed through DeliverSK?

    It was advised that DeliverSK was not yet an entity in its own right to deliver such a project. As Burghley was the largest landowner in the south of the district, as well as owning the land adjoining the site, they would bring local contacts and support and working with one of the largest stakeholders in the town would help to ensure the smooth delivery of the scheme.


    ·         The decision had been taken at Cabinet before consideration by this Committee

    This was due to the need for the decision to be taken as early as possible to enable the scheme to progress. The decision of Cabinet was to agree the principles of the Collaboration Agreement with detailed future monitoring of the project plan through this Committee.


    ·         Concern at the collaboration with Burghley Land Limited and it was questioned whether the Council might be better to work alone on the project and not take in a partner

    It was responded that the 50/50 joint enterprise would bring equal benefits for both parties and equal sharing of cost and risk, including the significant costs involved (such as masterplanning, construction and marketing). It was considered that a better scheme could be delivered by working collaboratively than working alone as Burghley brought more expertise in this area. 


    It was also noted that the Council would see further returns from the development in the form of Council tax and business rates revenue once the homes and business units were occupied.


    ·         How the governance arrangements would work

    It was advised that the heads of terms outlined how decisions would be made including how the site would be disposed of, details of the planning application and design brief and any financial contributions that were necessary.


    ·         The value and uncertainty of the property market

    It was noted that the value of the site had remained static since the Council acquired it but also that there had been a recent upturn in the residential market in Stamford. The site was costing the Council approximately £20,000 per month and this was one of the reasons for the Council to move as quickly as possible to bring the site forward.


    It was also noted that Burghley’s interest extended beyond their site boundary and that they were keen to protect the historic views of Burghley House and the surrounding area.


    A Member felt that partnership with a potential  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Gravitas Housing Limited pdf icon PDF 175 KB

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    Report of the Deputy Leader of the Council

    Additional documents:


    The Interim Director for Growth presented the report of the Deputy Leader (in his capacity as Cabinet Member for Housing at the time of despatch of the agenda) on the current position of Gravitas Housing Limited. He referred to a formal handover on 13 January 2020 of a combination of houses and apartments across 2 blocks at Wherry’s Lane in Bourne and to date 7 properties had been sold. There was a furnished showroom on site displaying a good quality product and the agent was actively promoting the properties and open days were planned. The Director advised that he would keep the Committee updated with progress. He added that the Council had acquired land opposite the Grantham College site which had potential for development and would provide a positive financial return. Gravitas could play a part in providing much needed affordable housing in the District and a significant role in the provision of small and medium size plots (under 40).


    It was noted that additional information was circulated to the Committee on 31 January 2020 one of which was the current Business Plan and the other was an exempt paper of project cashflow forecast on the Wherry’s Lane Development. Members commented that the exempt paper had not been made readily available to the Committee and the Monitoring Officer agreed that the exempt paper should have been circulated and the process for circulation of additional information and exempt papers was under review.


    Members felt the report highlighted the need for more information particularly financial data and it was felt that this should be provided as exempt material if necessary. It was noted that the business plan circulated was dated 2017 and there should be a more up to date version. The Director responded that the business plan was still accurate as it was focussed on Wherry’s Lane development which was the only scheme currently being undertaken.


    There was some concern that affordable housing had not been included on the Wherry’s Lane site and this did not set a good example.  It was mentioned that affordable housing should be included on any future development sites as necessary.  There was a query on the marketing of the Wherry’s Lane properties and noted that 2 agents were currently promoting the development.


    It was noted that a new business plan should be prepared and would include the company’s governance arrangements and the role of the Committee and this would be presented to the Companies Committee before the May workshop.


Wherry's Lane Management Company Limited pdf icon PDF 175 KB

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    Report of the Leader of the Council

    Additional documents:


    The Assistant Director for Growth presented the Leader’s report on Wherry’s Lane Management Company Limited. She referred to the company being set up to run the service charge for the residential long leasehold tenants and it was a single purpose non-profit making company. 


    There was a request to see the accounts that were available however it was advised that as they related to service charges paid by those who lived there to a private management company, the accounts were not accessible to the Council due to the micro business exemption. Members felt there were reputational matters to consider and they should be able to review the accounts of the Council-owned site. Members felt further advice was needed from the Interim Chief Executive and the new Chief Executive.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 56 KB

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    Members to review the Committee’s Work Programme.


    The Chairman presented the Committee’s work programme and explained that he would like to consider as much as of the business listed as possible before the workshop in May. 


    The Committee felt they needed to receive more information on Gravitas and Wherry’s Lane Management Company at the April meeting and due to the heavy agenda proposed for that meeting, felt that an additional meeting in March would be helpful to consider the business plans for St. Martin’s Park, Stamford.


Close of meeting

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    The meeting was closed at 15:10.