Councillors and committees

Agenda and minutes

You can view the individual reports for this meeting by selecting the headings from the numbered list of items at the bottom of this page. Alternatively you can view the entire agenda by selecting 'Agenda Reports Pack' below.

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Venue: Guildhall, Kingston upon Thames

Contact: Gary Marson 020 8547 5021  Email: gary.marson@rbk.kingston.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

38.

Apologies for Absence and Attendance of Alternate Members

Minutes:

Councillors Ken Smith attended as alternate for Councillor Gaj Wallooppillai. Apologies were received from Councillor Patricia Bamford.

 

39.

Minutes

To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 19 September 2013.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 19 September 2013 were confirmed and signed.

 

40.

Declarations of Interest

Members are invited to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests and any other non-pecuniary interests (personal interests) relevant to items on this agenda.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

41.

North Kingston Development Brief pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received details of the response to the public consultation on the North Kingston Development Brief.

 

The Brief was intended to provide a clear framework for the entire redevelopment  of the last large remaining brownfield site in North Kingston, an area bounded by Kingsgate, Richmond Road, Sury Basin and Sopwith Road. It had been the subject of a five week public consultation exercise, which included consideration by the Kingston Town Neighbourhood Committee. The Brief had identified a range of various uses for different elements of the site including education, small scale retail, market and affordable residential, a 2 form entry primary school and public open space, including  a public park running through the site on a north-south alignment. It had proposed that building heights generally be six storeys with opportunities to go higher at key landmark locations and lower in more sensitive areas. It sought to provide links to public transport and the riverside and pedestrian and cyclist access within and across the site.

 

Members noted that approximately 46% of respondents supported the vision and objectives of the Brief with around 40% disagreeing or strongly disagreeing. The most controversial aspect was the proposed closure of Kingsgate Road and the re-routing of traffic along Seven Kings Way, with almost two thirds of respondents in opposition. Concerns referred to the road safety implications, potential for increased traffic  congestion and the adverse impact on residential amenity for residents in the Royal Quarter as a consequence of increased traffic noise and pollution and impaired access to the residents underground car park.

 

The Committee was advised that options which would mitigate these concerns included the widening of Seven Kings Way, a left turn from Sopwith Way onto Richmond Road and the diversion of traffic northwards from Kingsgate Road, following the route of the area designated for a public park. The revised Brief would define the parameters and safeguard these options until a fuller assessment of the predicted traffic demand could be undertaken. Consultants due to be appointed for a Movement Study in Kingston Town Centre would also be asked to consider this as an early part of their work.

 

It was noted that there had also been a general feeling amongst respondents that building heights should be no more than six storeys. However, the heights had been carefully considered to reflect those of existing developments and had been scaled down, or subject to setbacks, to avoid overshadowing residential properties and make the proposed open spaces as attractive to use as possible. The higher buildings had been strategically located to provide landmarks, frame views and to create a varied roofscape. It was therefore agreed not to amend this aspect of the Brief at this stage but to bear the concerns in mind when determining planning applications.

 

The consultation had also highlighted a lack of support for further student accommodation. The Committee noted that the southern end of the development area was more appropriate for student housing as it was closer to the town centre,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 41.

42.

Kingston Community Infrastructure Levy - Draft Charging Schedule pdf icon PDF 155 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received details of representations received in response to public consultation on the Preliminary Draft Charging Schedule for the new Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) and, in the light of these, gave consideration to the content of the second stage Draft Charging Schedule.

 

Members noted that the majority of responses to the consultation were of a technical nature in respect of the viability appraisal and received  a summary of the changes that had been introduced as a consequence together with the cumulative impact of these on the various charge rates. Despite representations to the contrary, the methodological approach adopted in the appraisal, based on current use values plus an uplift to incentivise the landowner to sell, was considered to be sound and preferable in many ways to the market values approach favoured by some respondents.

 

A number of the responses had questioned how the proposed rates balanced the achievements of policies set out within the core strategy, such as the delivery of affordable housing and meeting sustainable development objectives. It was noted that the Council would seek policy compliant planning applications and weigh all policy and infrastructure requirements on a site by site basis. It was recognised that some sites would enable greater compliance, including higher percentages of affordable housing, than others. In assessing schemes where viability was an issue the Council would need to strike a balance between its various key objectives if it was to support the growth proposed while ensuring the development was sustainable. Where it could be clearly demonstrated that a development could not achieve both CIL and the Code for Sustainable Homes level 5 ad BREEAM Outstanding ratings sought by policy then Level 4 of the Code and BREEAM Excellent would be accepted.

 

The Committee also noted clarifications in respect of the scope of the exemptions and the proposed arrangements in relation to exceptional circumstances relief. The following instalment policy designed to mitigate the risk of large up front costs threatening viability was also approved;

 

Amount of CIL Liability

Number of instalments

Payment Periods and Amounts

Any amount less than £100,000

 

None

  • Total amount payable within 60 days of commencement of development

Amounts equal to or more than £100,000 but less than £250,000

Two

  • £100,000 payable within 60 days of commencement of development.
  • Balance payable within 120 days of commencement of development

Amounts equal to or more than £250,000 but less than £500,000

Three

  • £100,000 payable within 60 days of commencement of development.
  • Balance payable in a further two instalments of equal amount within 120 and 180 days of commencement of development

Amounts equal to or more than £500,000

Four

  • £250,000 payable within 60 days of commencement of development.
  • Balance payable in a further three instalments of equal amount within 120, 180 and 240 days of commencement of development.

 

In addition Members agreed a draft list of infrastructure projects that the Council intended to fund, at least in part, through CIL (The ‘R123 List’). This included a number of schemes suggested by respondents to the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 42.

43.

Housing Service Transformation Project - HRA Business Plan pdf icon PDF 72 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee gave consideration to the second Housing Revenue Account (HRA) Business Plan.

 

Members noted that the Plan had been refreshed as part of the transformation project to reshape the Council’s housing service and ensure that it was resident focused, responsive and equipped to meet future needs. It dealt specifically with the planned maintenance of, and investment in, Council homes and linked to the budget and capital programme as well as the approach to asset management. The latter would be developed further as part of phase three of the transformation project.

 

The Plan was underpinned by a robust financial model which set out the finances of the HRA over a 30 year period. This demonstrated the long term financial viability of the Plan and provided a detailed investment framework for the next five years. The baseline financial position was relatively tight in the initial years as resources were set aside to deliver the Better Homes Programme. There were also uncertainties around the income base as a consequence of welfare reform and income policy, Right to Buy and rent policy. Nevertheless, there was still scope for further service investment through the potential use of borrowing headroom, along with limited reserves in the short to medium term, to progress priorities. This would include those which emerged from the work on the asset management strategy and the other stands of the transformation project.

 

Consultation on the contents of the Plan had already been undertaken with key stakeholders, including the Housing Consultative Committee and the Resident Participation Review Group. There would also be consultation with residents on the priorities for the potential service and asset investment options as part of the planned refresh of the Council’s Housing Strategy. Specific investment options would subsequently be brought back to the Committee for approval, probably in the autumn of 2014.

 

In response to questions from Members of the Committee, it was emphasised that a total of £2m was still available within the Better Homes Programme for environmental improvements and there remained the potential for some additional investment outside the Programme. Suggestions that promised funding for the purpose was no longer available because of unexpected increases in costs were misplaced and the Better Homes Programme Manager would meet with Mr Ray Austin to clarify the detailed circumstances in respect of  individual scheme elements of concern.

 

Members also examined the assumptions underpinning the modelling in respect of bad debt provision, noting that it was forecast  to increase from £296,000 in 2013/14 to £1.357m in 2017/18. It was anticipated that bad debts would increase during the phased implementation of Universal Credit before falling back in the longer term. Once the Government had confirmed the rules around Universal Credit consideration would need to be given to mechanisms which would help residents avoid getting into debt.

 

RESOLVED that –

i)             The HRA Business Plan, as set out at Annex 1 to the agenda report, be approved; and

 

ii)            A consultation be undertaken with residents to establish investment priorities so that more detailed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 43.

44.

Urgent Items Authorised by the Chair

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.