Agenda and minutes

Companies Committee - Tuesday, 26th April, 2022 2.00 pm

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

Contact: Democratic Services 

Items
No. Item

43.

Membership and apologies for absence

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    Minutes:

    An apology for absence was received from Councillor Mark Whittington.

     

    Councillor Nick Robins, the Cabinet Member for Planning and Planning Policy also sent an apology.

44.

Disclosure of interests

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

    Minutes:

    None disclosed.

45.

Minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2022 pdf icon PDF 179 KB

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    Minutes:

    The minutes of the meeting held on 25 January 2021 were proposed, seconded and AGREED.

46.

Updates from the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 97 KB

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    To consider updates on Actions agreed at the previous meeting.

    Minutes:

    A question was asked about whether the list of Directors of South Kesteven District Council companies had been circulated.  The list would be re-circulated to Members.

     

    Ø Action

     

    That a list of Directors of South Kesteven District Council companies be circulated again to Committee Members.

47.

East Midlands Building Consultancy 2021/22 Update pdf icon PDF 539 KB

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    The report provides an overview of the performance of the East Midlands Building Consultancy (EMBC) partnership during 2021/22.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Assistant Director of Planning presented the report which provided an overview of the performance of the East Midlands Building Consultancy (EMBC) partnership during 2021/22.

     

    The EMBC is a partnership between South Kesteven District Council (SKDC), Rushcliffe Borough Council and Newark and Sherwood District Council.  The partnership is based on a shared service agreement with SKDC delivering the EMBC service on behalf of each partner.

     

    Building Control was a statutory service and the functions within it are categorised as either “fee or non-fee earning”.  The split between the two categories was 74% fee earning and 26% non-fee earning.  The fee earning was on a cost recovery basis only.

     

    Appendix 1 listed the work covered by the fee and non-fee earning services.  EMBC had maintained an average market share of 49% in 2021/22.  The pandemic had slowed the construction market and some staff had been furloughed for a short period under the Job retention Scheme.  However, during 2021/22 applications had been higher than before the pandemic and this was highlighted within the tables contained within the report.

     

    Appendix 2 contained exempt information and gave the year end position of EMBC which had been summarised within the public report.

     

    The recommendation contained within the report asked the Committee to note the performance of the EMBC over the last 12 months and to make any recommendations to support the ongoing success of the partnership.  That the Committee agreed to receive an updated Business Plan in six months and that the Committee agreed to receive a performance report of the EMBC every six months.

     

    The following questions comments were made:

     

    ·       Who was leading the development of the EMBC and who was working on the deliverables? 

     

    It was noted that since the restructure the service came under a new Directorate, currently there was not a Manager in post but two existing Officers were acting up and recruitment of a new Manager was currently on going.  A new Business Plan would be developed once the new Manager was in post as they would have an input in to the development of the service. 

     

    ·       The Business Plan should come before the Committee within the next six month period.

     

    ·       Was anything being done in widening the partnership to include neighbouring authorities. 

     

    There were opportunities to widen the partnership and these would be explored as part of the Business Plan and aspirations for the service.  

     

    ·         Would the EMBC be on the Partnership Risk Register

     

    It was confirmed that a health check would be carried out as part of the new Partnership Governance Policy.

     

    ·         Comments on the layout of information being consistent.

     

    It was acknowledged that a manager was not currently in post, but it was felt that the Business Plan should come before the Committee as soon as possible.  The margins currently remained low and the Chairman wanted to know the reasons for this and what the business development strategy for the business was going forward.  He felt that the Business Plan should come before the Committee within the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 47.

48.

Gravitas Housing Limited Housing update pdf icon PDF 312 KB

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    The report provides an update with respect to the Wherry’s Lane Bourne development project.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    A director of Gravitas Housing Ltd presented the report which concerned an update on the Wherry’s Lane development in Bourne. 

     

    The Committee had received a written report in November 2021 and a verbal update was given at the Committee on 25 January 2022 where a request was made for a further written report.

     

    It was noted that the project was nearing completion and no marketing was currently necessary.  All the houses and apartments had either a reservation price on them or were going through the legal process and it was anticipated that all sale receipts would be completed by mid to late May 2022.  The Business Plan for Gravitas Housing Ltd agreed by Council in 2017 would then be complete.

     

    Reference was made to Table 1.7 within the report which detailed the interaction between the Company and the Council and where the financial gains had been to the Council.  The project had not just been about the housing development but how the Company could support the Council financially.  The Director then highlighted areas within the table such as the Section 106 Agreement (£504,000) which had been agreed when the planning application for the 25 units went to the Planning Committee.  Up to 60% of the funding had been used for social housing in the vicinity of the Wherry’s Lane development known as Meadow Close. Photographs of the development were appended to the report.  Residual funding left from the 106 funding would be used in other locations.

     

    Details of the interest charged between the Council and the Company were highlighted and was based on the financial structure of equity, where the Council invested in shares in the Company of 40%.  The remaining 60% was a loan from the Council.  Interest to date on the loan was £174,000. There had also been a recharge to the Company in respect of the time South Kesteven District Council Officers spent in relation to work on Gravitas Housing Ltd, this was on a part-time basis and the Council had received income of £107,000.

     

    Council tax would be paid by all 25 properties either by Gravitas Housing Ltd itself whilst it held the assets or by the owners once the units were sold. To date income from Council tax was £6,000 which represented 9% of the Council tax bill for those properties that had become liable for Council Tax since 2020.

     

    Over the life of the new development, the New Homes Bonus income from the creation of new dwellings following the Governments formula calculation was £188,000.  

     

    To date nearly £1m had been received either directly or indirectly to the Council from the development.    The Council’s equity share in the Company is £1.1m. 

     

    A full closure report on the project would be presented to the Companies Committee following the completion of all sales and the payment of any residual costs relating to the scheme.  The report would detail what had been achieved from the project and any lessons learnt.

     

    Members discussed the report before them and the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.

49.

LeisureSK Limited Business Plan pdf icon PDF 368 KB

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    The report provides an update on the Business Plan for LeisureSK Ltd to cover the period April 2022 to March 2023.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Committee received a report on the updated Business Plan for LeisureSK Ltd for the period 2022/23.  Trading conditions for the Company remained challenging with the recovery from Covid and rising utility costs.  A successful application to the National Leisure Recovery Fund, administered by Sport England on behalf of the Department of Culture, Media and Sports had been received in the sum of £327,597.

     

    The Board of Directors were focused on the strategic direction of the Company, that it performed to expectations and delivered results to the Council and residents of the District.

     

    The final years’ accounts and cash balances would be shared with the Companies Committee at a future meeting following the close down of accounts at the end of the financial year 2021/22.  A trading position for the period January 2021 to December 2021 had been provided in exempt Appendix 4.

     

    A five year forecast for the Company was reviewed by Sport and Leisure Consultancy and this was also appended to the report within exempt Appendix 4.  This would be kept under review due to the ongoing issues with the rise in utility costs and the date for the reopening of the Deepings Leisure Centre.

     

    The report recommended that the Committee approved the Business Plan for LeisureSK Ltd to cover the period April 2022 to March 2023 and considered the performance of LeisureSK Ltd against the Business Plan and identified any additional considerations to be addressed in the future six-monthly updates to the Committee.

     

    Members discussed the report before them and the following reports/comments were made.

     

    ·       The report was comprehensive, but more specific targets should be included within the plan that could be measured rather than the general targets included.

    ·       Why was Bourne Leisure Centre not included within the Risk Register, the building was old and there were elements of risk in respect of the ownership (Lincolnshire County Council owned the building) and other factors associated with old buildings.  Also, the school had priority over the use of the building during the week.

    ·       Reference was made to chlorine and it was stated that these questions should be taken outside of the Committee.

     

    It was stated that a full condition survey had been carried out in respect of all three leisure centres. Once the result was known, work would be prioritised and risks added to the Risk Register accordingly.  It was acknowledged that the Bourne Leisure Centre building should be included on the register due to its age.   It was noted that Bourne school only used the sports hall during the week, the remainder of the Leisure Centre was open to the wider community.

     

    Further comments were made in respect of having to book facilities in advance and the impact that this would have on numbers, when would this be lifted.   Also, it was felt that on page 3 (page 44 of the agenda pack) paragraph 3, wording should be included after meaningful consultation “subject to affordability”.

     

    Facilities were booked in advance so that numbers could be monitored, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.

50.

Work Programme 2021 - 2022 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

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    Minutes:

    It was stated that EnvironmentSK Ltd should be on a six month cycle on the Work Programme together with the Business Plan for East Midlands Building Control Partnership.  The Chairman stated that all the Council Companies should be included on the Work Programme, although they would not have allocated dates as these had yet to be confirmed.

     

    Ø Action

     

    That all the Council Companies including EnvironmentSK Ltd and East Midlands Building Control Partnership to be included on the Work Programme on a six monthly cycle.

51.

Exclusion of Press and Public

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    Minutes:

    In accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) the press and public were excluded from the meeting during consideration of LeisureSK Ltd Business Plan, Appendix 4 because of the likelihood that otherwise exempt information as described in paragraph 3 of the Act would be disclosed to them.

     

    (14:56 the meeting went into closed session)

52.

Exempt Appendix 4 - LeisureSK Limited Business Plan

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    Minutes:

    The Committee discussed exempt Appendix 4, see exempt minute.

     

    Decision

     

    That the Companies Committee:

     

    1.          Approves the Business Plan for LeisureSK Ltd to cover the period April 2022 to March 2023 subject to additional figures and greater detail being included.

     

    2.          Notes the performance of LeisureSK Ltd against the Business Plan but requests that additional figures and greater detail and explanations are addressed in the Business Plan and in the future six monthly update to the Committee.

     

     

53.

Any other business which the Chairman, by reasons of special circumstances, decides is urgent

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    Minutes:

    None.

54.

Close of meeting

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    Minutes:

    The meeting closed at 15:31.