Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 20th October, 2022 7.00 pm - Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Offices, Farnborough

Contact: Administrator, Adele Taylor  Tel. (01252) 398831, Email.  adele.taylor@rushmoor.gov.uk

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No. Item


Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 15th September, 2022 (copy attached).


The minutes of the meeting held on 15th September, 2022 were agreed as a correct record.


Parks and Playgrounds

To receive a presentation from Head of Operational Services, James Duggin on Parks and Playgrounds, in particular;


-       Strategy and Action Plan - overview

-       Progress and plans

-       How the work is moving forward


The Portfolio Holder for Operations has been invited to the meeting for this item.


The Committee welcomed James Duggin, Head of Operational Services, who was in attendance to give a presentation on the Borough’s parks and play grounds.


Mr Duggin provided an overview of the current Strategy, which had been approved by the Cabinet in December, 2019, following a series of meetings with the Policy and Project Advisory Board. The Committee were apprised of the locations of the 40 Council owned sites across the Borough, which varied in quality, standard and usage. It was noted that a key strategic principle within the Strategy had been to ensure that for every resident in the Borough should have either; an equipped playground within a five-minute walk (0.4 km) or; a neighbourhood playground within a fifteen-minute walk (1.2 km); with either complimented by a destination facility at one of the key parks within the area. It was advised that the principles also stated, that:


·         Sites should be of a high quality with diverse play facilities

·         Sites should be maintained to ensure a safe and high-quality experience

·         Continued assessment should be carried out on population demographics to ensure appropriate provision

·         Consideration of levels of deprivation be taken into account when considering playground provision


Mr Duggin advised that recent census data had shown a population increase within the Borough. However, the data showed a decrease in 0-4 year olds and an increase in 5-9 year olds, with the figures for 10-14 year olds remaining static. These statistics could result in a reduction in demand for smaller sites aimed at the youngest age group.


The Committee were advised on some recent work to sites including, Moor Road Recreation Ground, Blunden Park and King George V Playing Fields. The new site at the Southwood Country Park was also noted. Other minor refurbishment  works were highlighted, these included a minor refurbishment and repaint at Carlton Gardens, new fencing at Aspen Grove and surface replacement, repaint and equipment service at Howard Cole Way.


Looking forward, Mr Duggin advised on further minor refurbishments and the Committee noted that old equipment had been built to last, allowing the Council to repaint and service much of it, however, health and safety remained a high priority on all sites. It was also noted that sites not on the Council’s land, such as Curly Bridge Close, Fleming Close, Highclere Road, Derwent Close and Dart Road, considered to be at the end of life, would be recommended to close.


The Committee were apprised of the financial arrangements. It was note that the current maintenance budget had been around £65,000 and to fully implement the Action Plan within the Strategy would cost in the region of £3million. Section 106 (S106) contributions were noted and it was advised that currently, contributions in Aldershot were in the region of £280,000 and in Farnborough £684,000. The Committee were advised that S106 funding had very specific guidelines and currently a number of sites were under development or awaiting contributions at Southwood Country Park, Cove Green Recreation Ground, Redan Hill Gardens, Farnborough Civic Quarter and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.


Property Services

Head of Economy, Planning and Strategic Housing, Tim Mills, to provide an overview on the service.


The Portfolio Holder for Major Projects and Property has been invited to the meeting for this item.


The Committee welcomed Mr Tim Mills, Head of Economy, Planning and Strategic Housing who was in attendance to provide an overview of the Council’s Property Service.


Members were apprised of objectives, governance and reporting for the service. It was noted that, in 2019, the initial strategy had been to increase the portfolio size to £178 million, using Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) funding, through well let assets, with strong secure income and minimal risk. However in 2020/21 PWLB changed their rules preventing borrowing to purchase for income yield. It was noted that following this change, the Council had focussed on acquiring permitted regeneration assets in the Borough, targeting value added opportunities and maximising income from existing assets. The current value of the portfolio was £128.2 million.


It was noted that governance was in place to ensure that the portfolio was well managed and the performance of the portfolio was monitored by the Property Investment Advisory Group (PIAG). It was advised that PIAG met quarterly (or as required) to consider performance reports consisting of data on acquisitions/sales, asset management initiatives and financial considerations. In addition, monthly meetings took place, to review progress, between the Council’s property team and Lambert Smith Hampton Investment Management (LSHIM), the Council’s investment and asset advisors.  All data was then fed into the Council’s budget and performance monitoring processes.


The Committee noted a number of key points regarding the portfolio, these included:


·         £7,646,384 – contracted rent p.a.

·         81 tenants – excluding short term licenses

·         6.13% of vacant space

·         Rent collection performance

·         Debt performance


Mr Mills reported on the asset management planning for the planned period of 2022-2030. The 7-8 year planning process, had been set to tie in with potential energy efficiency requirements and the Council Plan. It was noted that Concerto, the asset management system being utilised, mapped all potential events and assumptions for all assets, identified stock condition investment requirements, identified energy efficiency investment requirements, outlined a proposed approach to rent and rebate for community buildings and minimum license costs and identified specific plans for key assets such as the Princes Hall and the Alpine Snowsports centre.


The Committee discussed Mr Mills’ report and recognised that the new management system, Concerto, allowed quick access to all information relating to each property making for a more efficient and effective service.  In response to a query regarding debt management, it was noted that Concerto enabled effective invoicing which had had a positive effect on outstanding debt since its implementation. In response to a query regarding energy efficiency, it was noted that the rating of each property within the portfolio were now known. The next step would be to survey each property to establish costs to achieve the required “B” energy efficiency rating as set by the Government.


The Committee requested a session on the portfolio at which an overview of each property was given, this would be discussed further at the next Progress Group.


The Chairman thanked Mr Mills for his presentation.


Work Plan pdf icon PDF 196 KB

To consider the Work Plan for the 2022/23 Municipal Year (copy attached).


The current Work Plan was noted.


It was advised that an update would be provided on the Supporting Communities Strategy and Action Plan at the December, 2022 meeting.


It was also noted that an economic assessment of the airport was underway and it was expected that the report, when complete, would help facilitate an item on the Farnborough Airport at a future meeting of the Committee.