Agenda and minutes

Venue: Three Counties Hotel, Belmont Road, Belmont, Hereford, HR2 7BP

Contact: Caroline Marshall 

Link: Watch the reording of this meeting on the Herefordshire Council Youtube Channel

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


Councillor Ange Tyler was not able to attend the meeting in person. She joined the meeting by remote video link to present reports in her portfolio area but did not vote on the decisions taken.


Opening Remarks


The leader of the council opened the meeting with a statement highlighting the concern of cabinet members regarding the continuing impact of covid. The number of cases in Herefordshire was doubling every seven days with rates extremely high in teenagers and young adults. The leader urged residents to remain cautious and to keep social distancing, wear a mask in public places and to get vaccinated as soon as possible.


The leader explained that the Cabinet meeting was being held in a covid secure venue with a limited number of people in attendance to ensure social distancing could be observed and urged all those watching to continue to protect one another.



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 145 KB

To approve and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2021.

Additional documents:


Resolved:       That the minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2021 be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairperson.




Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 337 KB

To receive questions from members of the public.


Additional documents:


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


Questions from councillors pdf icon PDF 189 KB

To receive questions from councillors.


Additional documents:


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


Hereford City Centre Transport Package (HCCTP) - Development of the remaining elements pdf icon PDF 623 KB

To present an update on the programme delivery so  far, to highlight the elements of the project that have exceeded their forecast costs, and to set out the plan for delivery of the remaining projects in the programme.


This report will also detail the residual land acquisition costs and liabilities that will need to be met from the existing capital budget.


The cabinet member infrastructure and transport introduced the report. He commented that:

·        many elements of the scheme did not appear to have been appropriately thought out;

·        the way such projects were managed had now changed;

·        councillors had a responsibility to keep an eye on things and challenge officers;

·        the overspend on the project had been identified in 2017 and there should have been questions asked at that time as to how to deal with the situation.


The interim director for economy and place spoke to explain the history of the project. Cabinet members heard that:

  • The overspend emerged in 2017;
  • Using compulsory purchase orders was not an easy option and the process could be protracted;
  • It was decided in 2017 to utilise some of the contingency funds within the budget to deal with the increased costs of land acquisition;
  • In March 2021 further monies from the project envelope had to be allocated to deal with the land purchase costs
  • The overspend meant that the remaining budget was insufficient to deliver the other elements;
  • The council had made commitments to the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) on the delivery of these projects;
  • The report sought to draw a line under the previous governance and activity and move forward with the remainder of the programme as individual projects.


In discussion of the report cabinet members noted that:

  • There should be sufficient funds in the budget for the design work on the transport hub to be carried out, and this would include public consultation;
  • The design needed to be clever and need not involve a large amount of structure;
  • The report had brought a lot of clarity to the situation but there was disappointment in the way the project had been managed previously;
  • The remaining elements would have an impact on disabled people and those unable to use a car, it would also be a significant element in the council’s aspirations to address climate change.


The chief executive expressed concern about the way costs on the project had escalated, lack of governance and communications to residents on progress and performance. He stated that it was right to conduct an audit investigation and apologise for inaccurate information that had previously been shared with residents and councillors.


Group leaders and representatives were invited to make comments and ask questions on behalf of their groups. Key points were noted as:


  • Investment was needed in other parts of the county, as well as in the city. Cabinet members highlighted in response that this programme had been inherited from the previous administration and was constrained by the commitments made in the funding bid to the LEP, but other projects sought to invest in all the market towns and rural communities;
  • There had been failures to communicate the true state of affairs to councillors and reports produced in 2017 made no admission of the magnitude of the costs, it was suggested that if this had been raised at that time action would have been taken by the previous administration  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.


Recommendation for potential sites to progress affordable housing delivery in Herefordshire pdf icon PDF 185 KB

This paper seeks agreement to proceed with the outline design of a number of selected council owned sites identified across the county. At Cabinet on 26 November 2020 the decision was taken on how the council would progress the delivery of net carbon zero affordable housing across the county over the coming years.




Cabinet also approved Phase 2 of this strategic work to develop a pipeline of sites suitable for development as affordable housing to support discussions with key partners including Homes England.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member housing, regulatory services and community safety introduced the report. She highlighted that appendix 1 contained commercially sensitive information and so access had been restricted in line with the advice received.


The interim director of development summarised the key points of the report. There was uncertainty due to a number of factors, including covid, and the approach recommended would retain maximum control for the council so that it could adapt to unforeseen circumstances.


In discussing the report cabinet members noted that:

·        The initial brief would be for net zero carbon homes but there was a small chance that the conditions of any grants from Homes England might require something different;

·        Ward members would be kept informed as sites progressed;

·        The current intention was to develop sites of affordable rent properties (typically 70-80% of market rate) and shared ownership properties (typically 85-90% of market rate) rather than social rent;

·        These developments had potential to help people move to more suitable homes, releasing properties elsewhere, and would be more affordable to run as well as to buy or rent;

·        In some circumstances where affordable homes could not be developed, re-circulation of these sites would help to deliver affordable housing in more suitable locations.


Group leaders and representatives were invited to put the questions and comments of their groups. It was noted that:

·        There was general support for promoting affordable housing;

·        The council had an opportunity to set an example in housing design;

·        Any schemes should have robust project management;

·        Affordability needed to take account of any standing charges;

·        The council might need to consider other means to deliver affordable housing in rural communities.


The chairman of the general scrutiny committee highlighted that members of the committee had expressed a desire to scrutinise plans for the Holme Lacy site.


The ward councillor for Dinedor Hill highlighted that the Holme Lacy site had been previously considered for housing and queried that the potential number of dwellings had increased. He also raised concerns regarding drainage and stressed the importance of communication with ward members.


The cabinet member finance, corporate services and planning explained that the council was currently in the process of updating the core strategy and encouraged any neighbourhood planning groups, parish councils or other interested groups to get in touch to discuss proposals for affordable housing in their areas.


The cabinet member young people's education and attainment left the meeting at 16:56 and did not vote on this item.


It was unanimously resolved by the remaining cabinet members that:


a)       The output of the feasibility work completed on selected council owned sites is noted;

b)       An outline design for the council site at the former Holme Lacy Primary School is commissioned to allow housing market assessment and for the designs up to and including planning submission for houses on this council owned site;

c)       An outline design for the council site at The Paddock, Aylestone Hill Ward, is commissioned to allow for the design, submission of planning application and disposal of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.