Agenda and minutes

Venue: online meeting

Contact: Sarah Buffrey 

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

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.


Councillor Hitchiner declared a schedule 1 interest in relation to property in his ownership. He confirmed the monitoring officer had granted a dispensation for him to participate in the meeting and vote on the item.



To approve the minutes of the meetings held on 26 November and 1 December 2020.


This item was deferred.




Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 301 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 178 KB

To receive questions from councillors.


Additional documents:


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


Peterchurch Primary School Rebuild - Developed Design pdf icon PDF 276 KB

To approve the proceeding to the next stage of the rebuilding of Peterchurch Primary School, on the existing site, by commissioning a developed design (Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Stage 3) for a traditional and/or modular build.

Additional documents:


The cabinet member commissioning, procurement and assets introduced the item and stated she was pleased that the project was now moving forward. Challenging conversations had taken place around how best to proceed and how to deliver value for money with the project.


The cabinet member children and families also spoke to the report and highlighted the long development of the project. She acknowledged that the school building was now in very poor condition and that staff and pupils had managed well in these difficult conditions.


The head of educational development summarised the report, setting out the background to the proposal and that the next steps would retain flexibility for future development on the site including co-location with the high school or a specialist provision. The primary school was popular with parents and rated as Good by Ofsted. The council had already spent nearly £200k on reactive works and a considerable additional sum would need to be spent to repair and maintain the building going forward. A complete rebuild was recommended as the most cost effective option and it would also allow for an expansion in numbers to reflect future need in the area. The next piece of work would produce a developed design and more accurate costing.


In discussion of the report cabinet members noted:

               There was disappointment that the opportunity to create a through school had not generated more enthusiasm in the local community but this could be revisited at some point in the future;

               The costs would need to be considerably lower than the line entry in the current capital programme;

               The brief would seek to deliver Passivhaus certification as a minimum and a net gain in biodiversity on the site, this was a welcome step in aligning with the council’s carbon reduction plans;

               It was unlikely that the primary school would convert to an academy, it would not be supported to convert as a standalone academy and the governing body were reported to be opposed to academisation;

               There would be opportunities for the children at the school to be involved with and learn from the build process.


Councillor Hewitt as the local ward member paid tribute to the school staff who had struggled for so long with a poor building. She stressed the need to focus on early years and on mental and emotional wellbeing in that phase. She thanked cabinet members for supporting the proposals and noted that the parish council was also supportive. The proposal for a complete new build would be less disruptive than other options considered.


Group leaders were invited to raise comments and queries on behalf of their group. There was general support for the proposals and it was noted that:

               The previous ward member had also supported this option;

               The reasons for not progressing a through school were understood and it was important to respect the views of the community;

               Higher building standards would have to become the norm and the achievement of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 40.


Purchase of accommodation and refurbishment of 4 & 5 Blackfriars Street to meet strategic housing priorities, as a consequence of the restrictions caused by Covid-19 pdf icon PDF 155 KB

To approve the acquisition of eight properties and to undertake the refurbishment of numbers 4 & 5 Blackfriars Street, Hereford.

Additional documents:


The leader of the council explained that this item had been added to the agenda as an urgent matter due to the deadlines to accept and spend the grant funding. He noted that the chairman of the general scrutiny committee had agreed to its inclusion on the agenda.


The cabinet member housing, regulatory services and community safety introduced the report. She explained that the grant funding had been provided in response to the covid situation and the need to provide safe accommodation for homeless individuals. Various accommodation options had been used and there were still around 90 households in temporary accommodation which was an ongoing revenue pressure for the council. The report sought approval to accept the grant award for the purchase of eight properties from the open market and the refurbishment of the council property at 4 and 5 Blackfriars Street. Given the buoyant housing market it was necessary to move quickly to secure suitable properties and spend the grant within the timescales required.


In discussion of the report cabinet members noted that:

               The proposal was in line with the homelessness strategy;

               The refurbishment of 4/5 Blackfriars Street would create 6 units in total and aim to reduce the carbon footprint as much as possible, it was hoped that the works would be delivered for less than was set out in the report but number 5 was known to be in a bad state of repair;

               Social value would be embedded in the contract, making use of local labour as much as possible.


Group leaders expressed support for the proposal but stressed the need to achieve value for money and monitor the project to ensure high standards were delivered.


It was resolved that:


(a)       Cabinet accepts the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) capital grant of £420k for the purposes of purchasing up to eight properties


(b)       Approval is given to purchase up to eight properties within a budget of £1,120k and to refurbish 4 & 5 Blackfriars Street within a budget of £500k, to enable the council to protect and accommodate those currently in Covid-19 emergency accommodation from future homelessness.


(c)       Authority to purchase the properties be delegated to the Director for economy and place, following consultation with relevant cabinet members and the Chief Finance Officer.





Hereford Transport Strategy Review pdf icon PDF 425 KB

To consider the findings of the Hereford Transport Strategy Review and the Peer Review of the South Wye Transport Package and Hereford Transport Package, recommendations made by the general scrutiny committee and determine any strategy proposals to be taken forward.

Additional documents:


The leader of the council opened the discussion on this item, noting that it was eagerly awaited. He highlighted the climate emergency and that consideration of the planet was becoming more and more important. The decision to pause and review the transport strategy was felt to be correct in light of this and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic was a life changing shock which would have significant repercussions. Cabinet members had an important decision to make and should reflect on the ambitions in the adopted County Plan.


The cabinet member infrastructure and transport made an introductory statement. He reflected on the work that had taken place to review the options and find the best way forward. He commended the work and input of all involved and thanked members of the scrutiny committee for their thoughtful deliberations and recommendations. He concluded with an assurance that decisions would be based on sound evidence and made with the intention to deliver the best outcome for the future of the city and county.


The head of transport and access services introduced a presentation by officers. The presentation included comments from the consultant representing Mott Macdonald in relation to the peer review and critical friend work and from WSP in relation to the review of the Hereford Transport Strategy.


Cabinet members discussed the presentation and content of the report. The following key points were noted:

               The strategic business case for the southern link road had not been submitted to DfT so no formal response had been received on that report;

               There was an element of uncertainty on costs but the work within package A was scalable and did not have to be delivered all at the same time;

               The council needed vision led plans for the future to respond to the climate emergency and to make an investment in the city overall, the evidence was now in place to underpin that new vision;

               The report flagged the number of short trips taken each day within the city boundary, the majority of which were single persons, and reducing that figure would transform the experience of the city;

               The strategy needed to work for everyone, supporting the economy and levelling up access to affordable and regular transport options for those households that did not have access to private vehicles;

               There was a typographical error on page 56 of the WSP report (page 176 of the agenda pack) – the eastern link option c would link to the A438 Ledbury Road not Worcester Road as stated;

               There was support for the introduction of a second river crossing in the city, while the quantitative measures for the western and eastern options were felt to be not dissimilar the cost of the western route was significantly higher in the report;

               The impact of school travel on congestion was recognised and it was noted that this could be addressed by integrating elements from package B to improve school buses with the elements  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.