Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

Venue: Town Hall Watford

Contact: Caroline Harris  Email: legalanddemocratic@watford.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

60.

Apologies for absence

Minutes:

No apologies had been received.

61.

Disclosure of interests (if any)

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of interest

62.

Minutes of previous meeting

The minutes of the meeting held on 21 January 2019 to be submitted and signed.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 21 January 2019 were submitted and signed.

63.

Conduct of meeting

The Cabinet may wish to consider whether there are any items on which there is general agreement which could be considered now, to enable discussion to focus on those items where the Cabinet sees a need for further debate.

Minutes:

A change was made to the order of the agenda and the item on the ‘list of locally important buildings’ was moved to be taken first.

64.

Corporate Plan 2019/2020 including revised corporate priorities pdf icon PDF 99 KB

    A report of the Managing Director to ask Cabinet to recommend the draft Corporate Plan 2019/20 to Council.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Mayor introduced the report and explained that housing was still the council’s top priority.  Councillor Collett commented that the corporate plan identified areas for improvement and that she was involved in meetings and working with officers on equalities and disability.  The report was welcomed as being positive.

     

    The Mayor thanked officers for their work on the corporate plan and Cabinet commented that the council had a solid financial base from which to deliver the priorities.

     

    RESOLVED

               

                Cabinet agrees to:

     

    1.        Note and approve the proposals for new Watford Borough Council priorities for 2019/20 and going forward.

     

    2.        Note the revised draft Corporate Plan 2019/20 (appendix 1 to the report) and propose any amendments.

     

    3.        Note that an Equality Impact Analysis has been developed to support the Corporate Plan (appendix 2 to the report).

     

    4.        Note that the work programme within the plan will underpin service plans and staff’s individual work programme as set out in their annual performance development reviews.

     

    5.        Recommend the draft Corporate Plan 2019/20 (subject to any amendments) to Council.

65.

Review and Adoption of Proposed Changes to the List of Locally Important Buildings pdf icon PDF 848 KB

    A report of the Urban Design and Conservation Officer seeks Cabinet approval for the proposed changes to the local list.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Mayor introduced the report and welcomed Mr Stewart who had registered to speak on the item as well as a number of residents who were in attendance.

     

    Mr Stewart explained he was addressing Cabinet on behalf of the owner of 24 Cassiobury Park Avenue to urge Cabinet to exclude the property from the local list.  Mr Stewart described how the property had been a place of crime and drug use prior to his clients acquiring the property in June 2018 and, with the help of the police, taking possession in August 2018.  The new owners were shocked and upset when trying to redevelop the property they discovered that officers were intent on locally listing the building.  The owners had contacted two heritage consultants who had reported that there was no special interest about the property over and above those listed at the time.  The craftsmanship at the property was poor.  There had been several alterations to the building including a poorly constructed conservatory, and the central chimney had been demolished and re-built but not at the same height.  There was a lack of information about the architect, Mr Knowles, who was not a notable architect locally or nationally.  The property was a standard arts and crafts house of the 1920s which did not meet the criteria of local listing.  There was no appeal procedure for locally listed buildings.  Mr Stewart’s client had been in contact with officers who had said that the property could be demolished if the replacement was of a high standard.  Mr Stewart concluded that adding the property to the local list was excessive and disproportionate.

     

    Councillor Sharpe, commenting on the report as a whole, described how the council had maintained a local list since 2010 and were encouraged by Historic England to recognise elements of specific buildings.  The local listing provided an extra degree of protection to those buildings but did not preclude alteration or demolition but held these to a higher standard.  There would be a consultation later in the year on a conservation area in Cassiobury.  The council was criticised when receiving controversial development applications about the extent of changes to the historic fabric of the town.  Whilst this was unavoidable, to an extent the local listing was designed to provide continuity and to preserve some of the historic fabric.  There had been a consultation process and changes had been made following feedback. 

     

    The Mayor advised Cabinet that there was a typing error on page 50 of the agenda where it should state number 11 and not number 1 Cassiobury Park Avenue.

     

    The Deputy Managing Director stated that officers had met with the owners of 24 Cassiobury Park Avenue and whilst being sympathetic to their position had considered it in the public interest to include the property in the local list.  The property had been designed by a Watford born architect and had some good architectural features.  Although a property had been altered it could still be included on the local list.  The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 65.

66.

Council Tax - Changes to long term empty homes premium pdf icon PDF 59 KB

    A report of the Revenues Manager to ask Cabinet to approve changes to the Authority’s treatment of a property empty over two years, due to recent changes in council tax legislation.

     

    Minutes:

    Councillor Watkin introduced the report and explained that recent legislation allowed the council to invoke a greater premium on empty properties within the borough.  There were 63 properties listed in the report which had been empty for over two years.  The premiums which could be charged would increase from 100% in April 2019 to 200% after 5 years, and 300% after 10 years if they remained empty.

     

    The Director of Finance commented that the council would check whether the property was inhabited.  If the property came back into use then the council would receive a New Homes Bonus.  However, this was not affecting a large number of properties within the borough.       

     

    RESOLVED

               

    That Cabinet agrees to recommend to Council the adoption of proposed changes with effect from 1 April 2019.

67.

Ombudsman Decisions pdf icon PDF 43 KB

    A report of the Head of Democracy and Governance to ask Cabinet to note two Ombudsman’s decisions.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Cabinet received a report of the Head of Democracy and Governance regarding two findings of maladministration by the Local Government Ombudsman.  Councillor Watkin introduced the report and stated he had been reassured by officers that processes had been reviewed to prevent reoccurrence.            

     

     

    RESOLVED

     

    That Cabinet notes the Ombudsman’s decisions.

68.

Contract Exemptions Flooring and Basement Electrical Works pdf icon PDF 40 KB

    Report of the Head of Democracy and Governance to ask Cabinet to note two contract exemptions.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Cabinet received a report of the Head of Democracy and Governance regarding two contract exemptions.  Councillor Watkin introduced the report and explained that a local supplier had been sourced to restore the floor on the second floor of the Town Hall following an unsuccessful tender process.  The electrical works in the basement had been carried out by a contractor already on site.

     

    RESOLVED

               

    That Cabinet notes the exemptions.

69.

Rogue Landlord Procurement Exemption pdf icon PDF 60 KB

    Report of the Head of Community and Environmental Services to ask Cabinet to note a procurement exemption

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Johnson introduced the report of the Head of Community and Environmental Services and stated that the Building Research Establishment (BRE) had previously been used by the council for a stock modelling exercise.  As 29% of housing stock in Watford was privately rented it was important for the council to have data on the number of houses in multiple occupation and consider how best the council could support landlords.  The previous work by the BRE had been of a high standard.

     

    RESOLVED:

     

    That Cabinet notes the approved exemption to the council’s procurement procedures in relation to the appointment of BRE to carry out the project in accordance with the successful bid proposal.

 

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