Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Lisa Thornley  020 8461 7566

Items
No. Item

21.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor Alexa Michael; Councillor Aisha Cuthbert attended as substitute.  An apology was also received from Councillor Julian Benington.

22.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were received.

23.

QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS AND MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

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 Friday 9th October 2020. Written replies will be provided.

Minutes:

The following question, together with the Portfolio Holder’s response was received from Mr Richard Gibbons in regard to Item 4 – Property Acquisition Scheme Proposals:-

 

Question

 

Paragraph 3.4 states "Beehive are a relatively new company". For the sake of clarity, what is the full name of the company the Council is proposing to enter into an agreement with as registered at Companies House; when was it incorporated; and what relevant experience do its directors have?

 

Portfolio Holder’s Response

 

The company with whom the Council will be contracting is Beehive Affordable Homes (Bromley 1) Limited a subsidiary of Beehive Affordable Homes Limited. Beehive Affordable Homes was incorporated in 2017 specialising in supporting primarily public sector clients on their funding and risk management needs to deliver affordable housing and regeneration schemes. The directors have extensive experience both in the public and private finance sector with one director having previously held the statutory s151 officer role at a large London local authority.

24.

PROPERTY ACQUISITION SCHEME PROPOSAL pdf icon PDF 230 KB

Minutes:

Members considered an option to lease up to 50 former Hyde social housing properties from Beehive for use as accommodation to help reduce the current pressures in relation to homelessness and temporary accommodation.

 

To enable survey work to be undertaken, approval was being sought for a budget of £50k to be allocated from the Housing Investment Fund earmarked reserve.

 

The Director of Housing, Planning and Regeneration (the Director), informed Members of the possibility of acquiring a further property from Hyde, bringing the total number of properties to 51. Confirmation would be obtained by the end of the week and if successful, would be included in the report to the Leader.

 

Councillor Stevens requested background information regarding the Directors of Beehive and raised concern that some properties may be sub-standard.  The Director reported that Beehive was formed in 2017 with three company directors one of whom was a former S151 officer at a large London Authority with 20 years experience and the other two directors had experience in the public/private finance sector.  The bulk of the company’s work was in the public sector.

 

In regard to the standard of accommodation, the Director reported that a programme was in place to visit each property to check if it met with specifications. If not, the property would need to be replaced and Hyde would have to compensate the Council for out-of-pocket expenses.

 

Beehive was concentrating on estate based properties which would be placed on the open market if Bromley declined to take them.

 

In response to questions from Councillor King, the Director reported that Beehive was a private company and would take a fee from the financing element. Approximately 40% of the properties were situated in Bromley however, the Director would check this and refer back to Members.  None of the properties had been formerly owned by the Council and would be an addition to the existing stock.

 

The Chairman was informed that the offer comprised both freehold and leasehold properties which the Council could acquire after 50 years.  However, for leasehold properties, the Council would retain the leaseholds for 135 years, with Hyde as the freeholder.

 

The Head of Finance reported that the Retail Price Index (RPI) could vary over the 50 year term; however, the increase in the lease was capped at 5% which limited the Council’s exposure. RPI had increased by an average of 2.4% per year over the last eight years, compared to around 3.5% for Local Housing Allowance rates. He anticipated the Council would be in a better financial position than the forecast figures included in the report which erred on the side of caution taking into consideration the length of the leases.

 

The Director confirmed that in the event that the company folded, the long-term lease would still continue and be transferred to the Council.

 

The Chairman considered the offer to be a low-risk option for delivering temporary accommodation and moved that the Committee support the recommendations in the report.  Councillor Allatt seconded the motion.

 

RESOLVED that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

PART 2 (CLOSED) AGENDA

25.

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 items 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.

26.

COVID-19 SUPPORT

Minutes:

Members considered a Part 2 exempt report in relation to COVID-19 support.

 

Resolved that the report be noted and Member comments be provided to the Leader of the Council.

 

Original Text: