Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Lisa Thornley  020 8461 7566

Items
No. Item

15.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Josh King; Councillor Angela Wilkins attended as substitute.

16.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received.

17.

QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC ATTENDING THE MEETING pdf icon PDF 579 KB

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions at special meetings are restricted to reports on the agenda and must be received by the Democratic Services Team within two working days of the normal publication date of the agenda - by 5pm on Thursday 1st October 2020. Written replies will be provided.

Minutes:

The Chairman thanked members of the public for the questions received. Normally, only two questions per person was permitted however, on this occasion, due to the importance of the subject to be discussed, the Portfolio Holder had responded to all. 

 

A total of 140 questions were received and these, together with the Portfolio Holder’s responses can be viewed via the following link:- RRH PDS 6th Oct 2020 - Questions and Replies.  The Chairman invited supplementary questions to be submitted for the Portfolio Holder’s response. 

 

The Portfolio Holder also made the following statement:-

 

‘Chislehurst Library plays an important part in the overall library delivery strategy and it is envisaged that this will continue over the long term.  The proposed redevelopment of the library has been known about for many years.  Potential developers had previously held public meetings in December 2013 and Ward Members have updated the community via their own messaging and to the Chislehurst Society.

 

The decision to originally dispose of the library was made by the Executive in September 2014 as a Part 2 Decision.

 

The Executive agreed at its meeting in September 2014 that Chislehurst Library, together with the adjoining pay and display car park, should be marketed, on the basis that a replacement library would have to be provided as part of the consideration for the site.

 

The current library is poorly laid out, leading to access issues. It is also significantly dated in its appearance. A development opportunity allows for the provision of a new library of equivalent size, but constructed with modern materials, which will reduce the Council’s long-term maintenance and revenue running costs.

 

Experience elsewhere has shown that where libraries are renovated, and improved, use significantly increases and remains higher than prior to any improvement works.

 

Following that decision, the library was marketed, and a successful bidder was identified.  However, whilst It would not be appropriate to discuss the commercial affairs of another party, it is safe to state that it was not possible to conclude a Development Agreement with that party due to a lack of clarity on fundamental parts of the agreement which would have left uncertainty as to funding, deliverability of the scheme and as to what the actual scheme was going to be as there was no clarity as to whom the commercial third party occupier would be.

 

The decision was therefore taken last year to re-market the site on the open market on the same basis but seeking clear information from bidders so that certainty could be provided to the Council on deliverability of any scheme. The recommendation based on the outcome of that marketing exercise is the subject of the Call In we are discussing today.

 

Let me be clear, the purpose of selling this building is to create a new library on the same site as part of a wider development.  Therefore, the local community benefit from a new library at no cost to the Council.  In addition, the community will benefit from a new medical  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.

18.

CALL-IN: REDEVELOPMENT OF CHISLEHURST LIBRARY pdf icon PDF 320 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

On 17September 2020, the Leader published a statement of decision in respect of the Redevelopment of Chislehurst Library (and the disposal of Land at 36 Vinson Close, Orpington). The report (a part 2 document) had previously been scrutinised by this Committee at its meeting on 2 September 2020 and was available for scrutiny by Executive, Resources and Contracts PDS Committee on 10September 2020. After pre-decision scrutiny and consultation with other members of the Executive, the Leader decided to approve the proposals as recommended in the report.

 

The decision on Chislehurst Library had been called in by Councillors Angela Wilkins, Ian Dunn, Vanessa Allen, Kathy Bance, Kevin Brooks and Josh King, and other members of the Labour Group. This Committee was requested to consider what action should be taken in response to the call-in of the decision; the options were to refer the decision back for re-consideration or to take no further action on the call-in, in which case the decision could be implemented without further delay.

 

Visiting Member Councillor Ian Dunn said the decision was called-in on the basis of lack of best value and lack of scrutiny and transparency. The Part 1 report named the developer and stated that the development would include a medical centre. There was no doubt that every word in the paper had been checked by the Council’s lawyers. Councillor Dunn asked why the report had not been published before the meeting of the RR&H PDS Committee on 2 September as publication would have facilitated a well-informed public debate.

 

Discussion at the Executive Resources and Contracts PDS Committee meeting did not cover the merits of the proposal and the Minutes of that meeting contained nothing about supporting the proposal.

 

Councils had a transparent objective process for balancing price and quality when awarding contracts to give best value. This protected both sides with bidders having a level playing field and the Council getting assurance that it was obtaining best value. The Council sets out its requirements at the start and end of the process with the best value bid being appointed.  While this process was not mandatory for selling land, it did represent best practice but was not followed in this case. There was no Committee paper setting out the Council’s requirements and no objective method for balancing those requirements with the price obtained.

 

Councillor Dunn was under the impression that the scheme would involve a supermarket and flats.  He was therefore surprised to learn that while two of the three bids related to a supermarket and flats, the third involved a medical centre and was the winning bid even though it was 30% below the highest bidder. Councillor Dunn asked where the idea of a medical centre came from and why only one bidder included a medical centre. The proper way to get best value was to ask all bidders to provide the same thing.

 

He asked if it was reasonable for the Council to subsidise the provision of GP services.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

PART 2 (CLOSED) AGENDA

19.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AS AMENDED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT (ACCESS TO INFORMATION) (VARIATION) ORDER 2006, AND THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

The Chairman to move that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the item of business listed below as it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings that if members of the Press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.

Minutes:

The Chairman moved that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the item of business listed below as it was likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings that if members of the Press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.

20.

CALL IN: REDEVELOPMENT OF CHISLEHURST LIBRARY - PART 2 APPENDICES

Minutes:

Members considered confidential information (appendices 5-7) relating to the Part 1 public report on the call-in of the decision on the redevelopment of Chislehurst Library.

 

RESOLVED that appendices 5-7 relating to the Part 1 public report be noted.

 

Original Text: