Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Council Chamber - The Shire Hall, St. Peter's Square, Hereford, HR1 2HX. View directions

Contact: Sarah Buffrey 

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


There were no apologies from members of the cabinet.



To receive declarations of interests in respect of Schedule 1, Schedule 2 or Other Interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.




MINUTES pdf icon PDF 88 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2018.


Resolved:       That the minutes of the meeting held on 18 October 2018 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.




Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To receive questions from members of the public.

Deadline for receipt of questions is 5:00pm on Friday 7 December 2018.

Accepted questions will be published as a supplement prior to the meeting.

Please see for information on how to submit a question.

Additional documents:


Questions received and responses given are attached as appendix 1 to the minutes.


Questions from councillors pdf icon PDF 48 KB

To receive questions from councillors.

Deadline for receipt of questions is 5:00pm on Friday 7 December 2018.

Accepted questions will be published as a supplement prior to the meeting.

Additional documents:


Questions received and responses given are attached as appendix 2 to the minutes.


Peterchurch Primary School Rebuild pdf icon PDF 338 KB

To authorise the commissioning of a feasibility study by (or through) Herefordshire Council Property Services for the rebuild of Peterchurch Primary School on its existing site.


The cabinet member children and families introduced the item. She highlighted that:

·         Peterchurch Primary school occupied a poor set of buildings with significant ongoing maintenance costs and undersized classrooms, the desire to replace the buildings had been recognised for some years;

·         a range of options had been explored, including relocation to the nearby high school site, however this option would incur substantial additional costs and was not supported within the community;

·         the proposed feasibility study would assess sequencing of the build, requirements for temporary accommodation, options for dealing with the power cables that crossed part of the site and options for providing a new roof for the swimming pool;

·         the feasibility study would provide a block plan of the proposed layout of the new school, a plan for deliver and set out costs;

·         providing these new school buildings would support the council’s corporate objective to give children the best start in life.


The councillor in whose ward the school was located (Golden Valley North) commented that there was complete community support for the proposed rebuild. The pool was important to the local community so options to replace the roof would be welcomed. There were also opportunities to look at an environmentally friendly, low maintenance design and incorporate a drop off area for pupils off the road to reduce congestion and improve safety at peak times. The design of the new buildings should take account of potential housing development in the local area and the increase in pupil numbers that this could bring.


In discussion of the item it was noted that:

·         the sum of £180k allocated for the feasibility was a maximum and it was expected that the work would cost less than this;

·         the work would provide a costed proposal to RIBA stage 2 and procurement would start early in 2019 with the work completed by the summer at the latest;

·         investment was required to provide suitable accommodation and help maintain the good results in primary schools as noted recently by Ofsted.


Group leaders were invited to give the views of their groups. There was general support for the proposed rebuild, other the key points raised were:

·         a need to consider issues in other schools across the county, a planned review of condition surveys in 2019 was welcomed;

·         effective project management structures should be in place to ensure that the project was delivered on time and on budget;

·         information should be provided on the level of green certificate that was being sought.




Resolved that:

(a)       the director for children and families be authorised to commission feasibility work and take all other steps necessary to inform a further decision on the replacement of Peterchurch primary school and associated on-site facilities on its current site, and determination of the most appropriate route to procurement, within a budget of not more than £180k.



Purchase of accommodation to meet strategic priorities pdf icon PDF 110 KB

To approve the acquisition of a small number of residential properties in addressing a range of strategic priorities.


The cabinet member health and wellbeing introduced the item. Key points highlighted were that:

·        there had been a shift in the stance and approach to risk by registered housing providers and as a result it had become more challenging to find appropriate accommodation for certain vulnerable groups of people;

·        the proposed acquisition of properties by the council would enable appropriate housing to be provided for care leavers but could also provide support for other vulnerable service users;

·        each separate purchase would be subject to its own governance process.


In discussion of the item cabinet members endorsed the need for the council to be able to provide accommodation for these vulnerable groups. It was noted that:

·        the change in approach of registered housing providers was seen nationwide, with providers having more independence and focusing on maximising lettings to those who can pay the rent, they had become more risk adverse to poor behaviour and rent arrears;

·        the council provided reassurance to housing providers where possible to encourage offers of accommodation but in some cases providers were still unwilling to take the risk;

·        properties would be sought in the areas where need was greatest and where people placed would have access to the services and support they needed, however it was likely that as the policy was rolled out properties in the market towns across the county would be considered;

·        the policy would help the council to meet its statutory duties to vulnerable residents and also give opportunities for cost avoidance if not actual savings, without suitable accommodation and support over time some of these vulnerable service users would have escalating needs requiring more intensive and expensive intervention;

·        there would be a requirement for housing management, including maintenance, and this service was likely to be procured from a registered housing provider, which need not be one of the councils local stock holding providers;

·        the supported housing for young people project (SHYPP) was able to accommodate those with moderate support needs but not the kind of provision that would be delivered through this policy.


Group leaders gave the views of their group. There was general support for the policy and the following points were made:

·        it was disappointing that housing associations were being risk adverse and not looking after those people they were set up to help;

·        if the council were to build properties from scratch as part of this policy it should consider flexible layouts and inclusion of assistive technology to allay concerns of neighbours and provide early warning of problems;

·        the council could look at also providing secure accommodation as there was a high demand for this type of accommodation nationally and there could be opportunity to accommodate individuals from outside the county;

·        properties should be acquired sensitively in the right location and not clustered too many together;

·        the council should ensure value for money in its purchases.



Resolved that:

(a)         the principle of acquisition of properties to meet the needs of care leavers and other people with complex needs  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.


Development Regeneration Programme - Station Approach project approval pdf icon PDF 200 KB

To enter into a development agreement to provide student accommodation on the station approach site.

Additional documents:


The leader of the council welcomed the principal and the president of the student union from Herefordshire College of Arts (HCA) and the project lead for finance and accommodation from NMiTE.


The cabinet member contracts and assets introduced the item. He noted that:

·        the proposed accommodation block would provide for students from HCA and NMiTE;

·        the project would be part of the development regeneration programme (DRP) with partner Engie Regeneration Ltd;

·        HCA did not currently have a high quality campus where students could live together, this project would address this and support planned growth in student numbers;

·        the recommendations in the report supported the September 2020 opening target;

·        the level of demand had been validated and feedback from potential investors had been positive, with the approval of cabinet it was intended to move into negotiations with a preferred funding partner early in 2019;

·        the preferred route for funding was to have an external partner but the recommendations put forward allowed for the council to provide funding if required.


In discussion of the item it was noted that:

·        there had been great interest from potential funding partners with four interested parties to date, due diligence checks would be carried out to confirm whether any or all of these could be taken forward;

·        it was possible for the council to deliver the project itself and there was some support for this option but it was acknowledged that the council had finite resources to invest and that attracting external investment would allow the council to recycle its investment into other much needed projects;

·        the council should pump prime sites which were not viable for private investors, as there was interest from private investors for this scheme, the council should act as a facilitator only;

·        there was support and demand for higher education opportunities in Herefordshire which this project would support;

·        the reduction in parking spaces at the front of the train station would be mitigated by ensuring that there were sufficient alternatives within a 5-10 minute walk and in the longer term by a review of parking.



Group leaders were invited to give the views of their group. There was general support for the principle of the project and the educational institutions involved. Other points made were:

·        that the building and its setting should be attractive as it was to be located in a prominent site and aim for high environmental standards in its construction;

·        the design should be flexible so that the building could be repurposed in future if needed;

·        the projected growth in the student population would likely give a boost to the night time economy and it was hoped that this would not lead to tensions;

·        the proposed timetable was tight and there might be other constraints on the site not yet identified;

·        the project must demonstrate a sound business case and return for the council;

·        the council should focus on projects to support vulnerable people such as developing sites for affordable housing.


The ward councillor expressed support for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.


Hereford Centre for Cyber Security – Joint Venture and Financial Arrangements pdf icon PDF 174 KB

To approve the creation of a Joint Venture company between the council and the University of Wolverhampton to deliver and operate the Centre for Cyber Security at Hereford Enterprise Zone, with associated legal considerations and financial contribution from the council.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member economy and communication introduced the item. He reminded cabinet members that provision had been made in the council’s capital programme in July 2018 to deliver the proposed cyber centre. The present report set out the intended terms of the joint venture and financial arrangements between Herefordshire Council and the University of Wolverhampton. The university’s representative, Nigel Birch, was welcomed to the meeting.


Key points of the project were noted:

·        Herefordshire had a low wage economy and the cyber centre would generate higher paid jobs in the county;

·        the cyber security industry was growing and Herefordshire was well placed to form part of the second largest cyber security cluster outside London;

·        the University of Wolverhampton had significant experience in this field, the facility would offer training for other companies, incubation space for start-ups and research and development facilities;

·        funding would be provided through a loan from the council and a package assembled by the university which included funding from the Marches LEP and European Structural and Investment Fund;

·        the proposed shareholding agreement would ensure that the core purpose of the joint venture company would not be changed without the unanimous support of both the council and the university;

·        in the event that the council wished to exit the joint venture at some point in the future it could sell its share, this would not impact on the repayment of the council’s loan to the company.


In discussion of the item it was confirmed that:

·        the proposed lease was part of the package which would result in an asset against which the company could borrow, the permitted use clause would regulate the future usage of the building;

·        the advantage of the proposed company structure was that it would bring clarity to transactions and the exit strategy should the council wish to withdraw at any point;

·        the structures would be designed so as to future proof the company, with investments made at arm’s length as loans and the shareholders agreement ensuring unanimous decision making on key issues;

·        it was not expected that the company would return a significant profit to begin with, priority would be servicing the debt but if profits were made then the company could pay a dividend to the shareholders, including the council;

·        a business plan had been produced and was being refined, board members would review performance of the company going forward, nomination of board members would be through the outside bodies process.


Group leaders were invited to express the views of their group. There was broad support for the proposal but it was noted that:

·        sound business arrangements needed to be in place with clear targets against which success could be measured;

·        as this was a growing sector it was possible that there would be a lot of competition from other organisations.


The ward member expressed his support for the project but highlighted concerns about the need for greater security on the site, citing examples of vandalism on the cycle path.


It was resolved  ...  view the full minutes text for item 32.


End of September 2018 corporate budget and performance report pdf icon PDF 166 KB

This report is designed to provide assurance that progress is being made towards achievement of the agreed revenue and service delivery targets, and that the reasons for major variances or potential under-performance are understood and are being addressed to the cabinet’s satisfaction. Cabinet is asked to review projected revenue outturn for 2018/19 and consider performance for the first half of the year.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member finance and corporate services introduced the item. Highlights of the quarterly report were noted as:

·        a projected overspend of £1.2m for 2018/19 compared to £2.2m at the same point in 2017/18, there was confidence that this could be managed;

·        52% of performance measures were the same or better than at the same point in the previous year;

·        Hoople had planned savings of £600k for 2018/19, the company was predominately a council owned subsidiary and not designed to make a profit;

·        the re-profiling of capital as set out in appendix B would better profile anticipated expenditure and borrowing for future years;

·        debt write offs were low for the first 6 months of the year compared to the previous year;

·        the redesign of the Home First service was complete and capacity was being expanded to keep people out of hospital where possible;

·        35 refugees had been welcomed to the county as part of national resettlement schemes;

·        the troubled families programme had validated secured change in 299 families, bringing in £239k to the council;

·        the Priority Space site opened at the Enterprise Zone in September and would treat material from previous site clearances so that it can be reused elsewhere;

·        68 affordable dwellings had been delivered against a target of 200;

·        there had been a reduction in the use of agency staff except for in the children and families directorate, this would be monitored over the following quarter;

·        universal credit had been launched in Herefordshire and almost a third of recipients had taken up the offer of support in making a claim and budgeting, the citizen’s advice bureau was to take over the support to universal credit claimants from April 2019 as part of a national commissioning exercise.


The cabinet member children and families noted the following in relation to performance in their portfolio area:

·        school performance was good, with pupils outperforming national averages;

·        the new local Early Help Assessment had replaced the Common Assessment Framework and the number of completed assessments had increased, this early intervention should reduce the need for statutory services in the longer term;

·        the number of children subject to a child protection plan had reduced but the number of looked after children had increased overall;

·        there was pressure on the availability of placements and therefore on costs;

·        improvements continued to be made following the Ofsted inspection;

·        recruitment and retention of social workers remained challenging, as all councils were competing for good social work staff.


The cabinet member health and wellbeing noted the following in relation to performance in their portfolio area:

·        the £1.5m allocated in the capital programme for the Hillside centre was expected to increase to just over £2m following appraisal;

·        the budget for the adults and communities directorate showed a projected £405k overspend, budgets were being managed but with demand led services there was constant challenge.


The cabinet member transport and regulatory services noted the following in relation to performance in their portfolio area:

·        additional money had been provided by central government to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 33.