Agenda and minutes
Venue: Council Chamber, The Shire Hall, St Peter's Square, Hereford, HR1 2HX
Contact: David Penrose
APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE
To receive any apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Councillor AW Johnson.
DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
To receive any declarations of interest by Members in respect of items on the Agenda.
To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on the 9th May 2016.
RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 9 May 2016 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
To seek approval to commence work to develop the Hereford relief road (Hereford bypass) in support of proposals within the adopted Core Strategy in the context of the overall transport strategy for the city.
The cabinet member, infrastructure, presented the report on the Hereford relief road (Hereford bypass).
He reported that the decision made on the 6th June at the planning committee to approve the route of the southern link road had not been called in by the Minister of State.
During his presentation he highlighted a number of areas, including that:
· The relief road was a key infrastructure project that was necessary to drive the economic growth of Hereford and the region and had been identified as a priority within the LTP, the Core Strategy and the Marches Strategic Economic Plan. It had also been a key theme within the emerging economic masterplan for Herefordshire.
· The Core Strategy had been adopted in October 2015 and committed the council (in policy SS3) to work with developers and stakeholders to ensure the timely development of strategic proposals and key infrastructure requirements.
· The preferred option for Hereford had been published for consultation in September 2010 and included a western bypass with a package of sustainable transport measures. The supporting analysis had concluded that whilst these measures improved the performance of the network, it was only in combination with a bypass that they provided the network capacity necessary to support growth. The western alignment had been preferred due to the likely significant impacts to the east on the River Lugg Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), the River Wye Special Area of Conservation (SAC), and the Lugg Meadows SSSI.
· A Hereford bypass would increase traffic capacity to allow the city to grow with more homes and jobs and enable full delivery of Herefordshire’s Core Strategy housing and employment allocations, including those at the Hereford Enterprise Zone and the Three Elms employment site.
In reply to questions from members, he went on to say that:
· One of the substantial risks in timetable for the project had been overcome as the southern link road had been approved by the planning committee although it was still open to a possible judicial review. It was important that target dates should be met within the overall timetable.
· Traffic monitoring was in place on all roads in and around the city in order to provide the necessary data to support the business case for the relief road. The council was in dialogue with Highways England and the government regarding the project, and it was important that it be pushed forward in order to ensure that these partners were confident that progress was being made.
The Leader of the Independent Group said that there were alternative routes, and that a road to the east would make more sense from the point of view of serving the Enterprise Zone.
The cabinet member replied to a member’s question by saying that funding for Model Farm, Ross-on-Wye was a high priority for the LEP and he was not concerned that funding would not be forthcoming.
In reply to a member’s question concerning funding to be provided by the council to develop the relief road proposals, he ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
To inform cabinet of the revenue and capital outturn for 2015/16, including the treasury management outturn report, debts written off and invite cabinet members to consider performance in the year.
Cabinet received the end of year corporate budget and performance report 2015/16.
The cabinet member, health and wellbeing, reported that there was evidence of significant improvement against targets in the area of adult social care. Whilst the client budget was still overspent and work was still required to deliver improvement in the directorate, there was a need to address the culture across the whole health system. As an example of this, she drew members’ attention to the work being undertaken in the development of community connections, bringing the voluntary, professional and statutory services together, as had been achieved in the Golden Valley Supportive Communities Project and the Leominster Community Connections.
The cabinet member, children’s wellbeing, said that there had been an overspend in children’s wellbeing, but that some of the reasons for this were obvious as, for example, the number of looked after children stood at an all-time high for the county of over 300. Work was underway to ameliorate the situation.
He went on to say that staff retention was of central importance to the directorate, and the use of agency social workers had been reduced so that 74% of social work staff were now full time. This allowed both for cost savings and for a greater robustness in the service that was delivered.
The cabinet member, economy & corporate services said that there had been a reduction in residual household waste sent to landfill and that kerbside recycling continued to improve.
Other successes included the closure of two legal cases in 2015/16 in favour of the council. Absence in the directorate had been reduced to 8.45%
In the ensuing discussion, the following areas were highlighted:
· That in the area of social care, good care was often the cheaper option that helped to ensure that service users remained at home for as long as possible.
· That there were plans to improve the positioning of Wellbeing Information and Signposting for Herefordshire (WISH) in order to ensure that greater use was made of the service, and that this may mean that it would be moved in to the library, once the building had been refurbished.
· That care should be taken not to overburden the relatively small number of volunteers that the council was increasingly relying on to deliver services.
· That the council was on track to meet its target regarding work with troubled families. It was obliged to identify 600 families, and there were currently 426 known to the service. This was a priority for the council, and work was being undertaken with adult’s wellbeing in order to ensure that alternative accommodation was available for older children who were not in a position to stay at home.
· That, in comparison with its neighbours, the council was one of the highest spending authorities in the area of mental health care for working age adults and those over 65.
In reply to a question from a member regarding the medium term financial strategy report, the head of corporate finance said that the capital ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
To agree the partnership model and site selection that will be issued for the procurement of a development partnership for the council.
Cabinet received a report to agree a commissioning model for the procurement of a developer to work with the council to deliver the development of sites in council ownership. The cabinet member, contract and assets, said that the partnership model would allow the council to establish a long term strategic partnership with a market leading developer.
In reply to question from a member, the cabinet member went on to say that an alternative option would be to set up a joint venture partnership of one form or another, and that the appendix to the report outlined five different models that could be utilised. Many of the aspects and benefits of a joint venture company were included in the partnership programme.
In reply to a question from a member in attendance, the cabinet member added that the project sought to identify a partner who would provide a focus on projects that could be pump-primed using receipts from the county farm sales.
A member said that she had a great deal of setting up similar partnerships in other sectors, and said that care should be taken when setting up such partnerships.
A member suggested that the process should include an assessment of the amount of business that would be placed in the county, rather than nationally. He suggested that key performance indicators should be developed against all social values.
It was noted that few areas of the Old Market Development could not be met by firms within the county, but apprenticeships were taken on within these schemes.
(a) the council commission a developer to progress the development of suitable sites in its ownership including the capability to progress development funding and provision of services and to be open for use with other collaboration partners as required;
(b) an EU compliant procurement (using the competitive dialogue process) be undertaken as outlined at Appendix 4, to appoint a developer; and
(c) the use of the sites at Station Approach and Merton Meadow (South) as evaluation case studies during the procurement be approved.