Agenda and minutes

Venue: The Conference Suite Herefordshire Council Offices, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE

Contact: John Coleman, Statutory Scrutiny Officer 

Link: Watch the recording of the meeting on the Herefordshire Council youtube channel

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence.



There were no apologies for absence.


Named substitutes

To receive details of members nominated to attend the meeting in place of a member of the committee.


No named substitutes were present.


Declarations of interest

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 Summers declared an interest in item 8 on the agenda as Holme Lacy was in his ward and he had been a former pupil of the school.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 242 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 10 August 2021.


The minutes of the meeting held on 10 August 2021 were received.




That the minutes of the meeting held on 10 August 2021 be approved as a correct record and be signed by the Chairperson.




Questions from members of the public pdf icon PDF 216 KB

To receive any written questions from members of the public.

Additional documents:


10 questions had been received from members of the public and together with their answers, these had been published on the website as a supplementary item to the agenda.


During the meeting several supplementary questions were asked. The questions and their responses have been appended to the minutes.


Question from members of the Council

To receive any written questions from members of the council.


No questions had been received from Councillors.


Priority Flood Repair Works Capital Programme: Realignment pdf icon PDF 226 KB

The general scrutiny committee review proposals for in year adjustments to the capital programme to allow the re-alignment of capital spend to projects on priority flood works that require the allocation of budget.


Additional documents:


Development options for the former Holme Lacy School pdf icon PDF 229 KB

To provide General Scrutiny Committee with an update in regards to the operation and future development of the former Holme Lacy Primary School.


Additional documents:


The Committee received a report from the Cabinet Member for Housing, Regulatory Services and Community Safety which provided an update in regards to the operation and future development of the former Holme Lacy Primary School.


During discussion the following principal points were noted:


·        The definition of affordable housing as described in annex 2 of the National Policy Planning Framework was housing for sale or rent for those whose needs were not met by the market (including housing that provided a subsidised route to home ownership and/or was for essential local workers.) Social housing was housing delivered by the Local Authority or other organisations such as Connexus in Herefordshire which charged a social rent for those on low incomes. Rents were set by a national rent officer for the Herefordshire area.

·        Within the planning process it could be specified that houses would only be available for those living and working locally.

·        Paragraph 9 of the report spoke of pre-application planning advice but the distinction was made that this was for the previous application done by Keepmoat. The Council, as landowner, had not yet sought pre-application advice as the proposal was in its very earliest stages and was not yet at the planning process stage.

·        All aspects of social amenities, including the capacity of GP services, would be rigorously considered by planning officers and the Planning Committee and put out to public consultation during the planning process stage.

·        The lack of amenities for new developments was something that always commented on at Planning Committee and yet virtually all applications were passed, as broad planning rules were set by national government rather than locally in Herefordshire.

·        The Council’s commitment to providing affordable housing of the highest standard was commendable but the issue of associated infrastructure needed to be addressed.

·        Comments from the Committee on how the assessment of current community infrastructure could be improved, and sustainable communities for the future could be delivered, would be welcomed.

·        The Heads of Terms information that accompanied planning applications going to committee clearly indicated the contributions that would be made to local transport, open green space, the library service, schools, the Wye Valley Trust Hospital and the CCG (for improvements to GP services). These outside bodies then had a responsibility to bring forward the services needed.

·        A point of clarification was made around the assumption that affordable housing was just for those on a low income. High earners often could not save for a deposit because of the high levels of rent paid and were therefore also in need of affordable housing.

·        Councillor Tyler, the Cabinet Member for Housing, took on board the comments made by Councillor Summers and committed the project management board to consult more with ward members.

·        At the Cabinet meeting held on 16 September 2021 new higher level environmental building design standards were approved.

·        As part of the drive to reach the Council’s zero carbon emission target by 2030, the Council was looking at more efficient heating sources such as solar and ground  ...  view the full minutes text for item 34.


Maylords Orchard pdf icon PDF 305 KB

To provide General Scrutiny Committee with an update in regards to the operation and future development of the Maylord Orchard Centre.



The Committee received a report from the Cabinet Member for Commissioning, Procurement and Assets which provided the General Scrutiny Committee with an update in regards to the operation and future development of the Maylord Orchard Centre.



Before the substantive discussion took place the meeting went into closed session so that clarification could be sought on financial information that was not in the public domain.


After a short interlude the Chair reopened the meeting in public session.



 During discussion the following principal points were made:


·        The acquisition of Maylord Orchards, as a key site of Hereford heritage city, was always part of a strategic approach.

·        There was a need to act quickly when the site suddenly came onto the open market and at the right price.

·        A full review of Council assets and whether to dispose, retain or review them was being undertaken.

·        Moving forward, the Council was looking to make Maylord Orchards a strong community and environmental zone with a vibrant events programme to draw more people to the site. Final decisions on the approach to this had not yet been made by Cabinet.

·        A full asset management strategy and asset rationalisation was a priority for officers as the existing strategy ran out last year. Covid pressures had meant there had been a delay in delivering this.

·        There had been a significant yield reported on the Council’s overall property portfolio.

·        It was important for the Council to make a strategic intervention to halt the ongoing decline of the city centre and the purchase of Maylord was an opportunity to do this.

·        Councillors queried whether there was a plan for a cultural input into the Maylord site to provide a unique selling point and encourage footfall.

·        A vibrant arts culture was important for city centres as it encouraged people to live and stay in the centre and also bought in considerable income.

·        The Stronger Towns Bid which was coming forward would prioritise culture in Maylords. The Council was also working with the Herefordshire Cultural Partnership and the Arts Council to bid for other grants and bring additional income in.

·        The development of Brewers Passage would provide a more welcoming introduction to Maylord and the city, and officers would be looking at this as a priority.

·        The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) were committed to the tenancy in Blue School House.

·        Nationally it had been a very difficult time for retail during Covid and although there were some rent arrears generally the Maylord centre was performing better than other centres.

·        Maylord was cash positive and it was confirmed that rental incomes more than covered the running costs.

·        Every single decision being made would be examined for any unintended consequences and would go through the Maylord Orchard Strategy Review in order that the Council made best use of the asset for Hereford.

·        The centre manager recently recruited by Hoople had a good track record in retail centre management and would provide a focal point to react to tenants’ needs and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.


Work programme pdf icon PDF 154 KB

To review the committee’s work programme.


This item was deferred until the next meeting.


Date of next meeting

The next scheduled meeting is 15 November 2021.


Tuesday 15 November 2021.