Venue: Council Chamber, Town Hall, Bexhill-on-Sea
Contact: Louise Hollingsworth Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 01424 787815
Apologies and Substitutes
The Chairman to ask if any Member present is substituting for another Member and, if so, to declare his/her name as substitute Member and the name of the absent Member.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor L.M. Langlands and Malcolm Johnston, Executive Director.
It was noted that Councillor C.A. Madeley was present as substitute for Councillor L.M. Langlands.
Disclosure of Interests
To receive any disclosure by Members of personal and disclosable pecuniary interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the Member regards the personal interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct. Members are reminded of the need to repeat their declaration immediately prior to the commencement of the item in question.
Declarations of interest were made by Councillors in the Minutes as indicated below:
J. Barnes Agenda Item 3 – Personal interest in so far as he was an elected Member of East Sussex County Council.
Clark Agenda Item 3 – Personal interest in so far as he was and an elected Member of East Sussex County Council.
Mrs Earl-Williams Agenda Item 3 – Personal interest in so far as she was and an elected Member of East Sussex County Council.
Maynard Agenda Item 3 – Personal interest in so far as he was and an elected Member of East Sussex County Council.
The Committee considered the report of the Executive Director which detailed what action could be taken following the initiation of the call-in procedure in respect of the Cabinet decision on the redevelopment of the existing Leisure Centre in Bexhill agreed on Monday 10 February 2020 (Minute CB19/98 refers). The Executive Director had initiated the call-in procedure at the request of Councillor P.N. Osborne, Chairman of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) in accordance with the procedure.
The Chairman had submitted the following reasons for calling in this item:
i. a new Leisure Centre is a corporate plan priority project;
ii. concerns that the contract extension will not have enough time to be sorted out by legal and the current contract has been extended twice before, due to the expectation that a new contract will come with a new facility;
iii. delays to the purchase and any compulsory purchase plans will cause further delay and cause additional costs;
iv. failure to replace the existing leisure facilities (some over 30 years old) will hamper the Council’s commitment to reduce its carbon output due to the existing facilities inefficient buildings and plant; and
v. the Council may miss out on possible grant streams to fund the new leisure facilities due to the removal of the Community Information Levy funding.
The following additional comments and rationale for the call-in request were made by Members opposed to the Cabinet decision:
· concern was raised that land ownership issues were still prevalent and that access rights were still to be settled;
· the whole project and, in particular, the housing element had, as a consequence of the decision been delayed by Cabinet’s decision to defer the recommendations detailed at Appendix C in the original report. The Council’s lack of a current 5-year supply of land for housing was significant and cause for concern;
· further delays opened the project up to increased costs and risks;
· the Committee was advised that the site had been split into two separate projects namely Housing and Leisure Facility. An Employer’s Agent would be appointed to oversee the whole development however this had been delayed due to the decision of Cabinet. Separate architects and contractors would be appointed for the two specialist elements if and when the project was approved; and
· accuracy of the Cabinet Minutes was challenged and, in particular, the resolutions approved. The Committee was reminded that all meetings were recorded and available on the Council’s website. Members were encouraged to listen to the recording.
Councillors Brewerton and Vine-Hall reassured the Committee that Cabinet had carefully considered this matter and in their view it was the correct decision to defer until the Bexhill Leisure Centre Project Steering Group (BLCPSG) had met to consider the project in more detail.
After discussion, the Committee recommended that Cabinet be requested to reconsider their decision and approve the recommendations in the original Cabinet report, as follows:
Recommendation to COUNCIL: That £5m from either the Strategic Community Infrastructure Levy fund or borrowing (subject to affordability) or ... view the full minutes text for item OSC19/54