Agenda and minutes

Eastbourne Borough Council Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 2nd September, 2019 6.00 pm

Venue: Court Room at Eastbourne Town Hall, Grove Road, BN21 4UG

Contact: Committee Services on 01323 410000 

No. Item


Minutes of the meeting held on 10 June 2019. pdf icon PDF 163 KB


The minutes of the meeting held on 10 June 2019 were submitted and approved, and the Chairman was authorised to sign them as a correct record.


Apologies for absence


Apologies received from Councillors Murdoch and Maxted.


The Chair reminded Members of a recent communication requesting that, substitutes be arranged where necessary and Democratic Services be advised of those substitutes, prior to the meeting.


Declarations of Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPIs) by members as required under Section 31 of the Localism Act and of other interests as required by the Code of Conduct


There were no declarations made by Members at the meeting.


Questions by members of the public

On matters not already included on the agenda and for which prior written notice has been given (total time allowed 15 minutes).



No questions were received.


Urgent items of business pdf icon PDF 91 KB

The Chairman to notify the Committee of any items of urgent business to be added to the agenda.



The Head of Business Planning and Performance requested that, through the Chair, the Climate Emergency report be taken as an urgent item (the reason for urgency was as a result of the item not being included on the Committee’s work programme). The report followed the Eastbourne Borough Council resolution 10 July that recognised the Climate Change Emergency and that the Council would work in partnership with local groups and stakeholders to deliver a climate neutral town by 2030.


During discussion the following points were highlighted:


In developing the proposals it was recognised that there was already a great deal of cross-authority work being done on this important issue. This extended more widely across all of Sussex. A communications event took place in the summer of 2019 which brought the leads on climate change and sustainability across the districts, boroughs and county together. It was evident at that point that a number of authorities were doing similar work, with many shared challenges.


It was felt that a resource at district and borough level would provide a more local focus. The appointment would be advertised imminently and there was confidence that, through initial enquiries already made in the sector, the post would be successfully recruited to. In the meantime a meeting with the relevant portfolio holder had been scheduled to decide on how the work programme for the item would be shaped.


Caution was proposed regarding the level of bureaucracy in the programme - between the proposed Officer Working Group and the Member Panel, and the impact of the arrangement on decision making. It was clarified that the new Panel would supersede the previous Member Carbon Reduction Panel. The Eastbourne Carbon Neutral Group was a community led initiative and would work closely with the Council’s panel in the future.


RESOLVED – to give the Committee’s support to the recommendation that Cabinet approve £36k per annum towards the cost of a dedicated post, shared with Lewes District Council, to develop and support the delivery of a Climate Change Strategy.


Right to address the meeting/order of business

The Chairman to report any requests received to address the Committee from a member of the public or from a Councillor in respect of an item listed below and to invite the Committee to consider taking such items at the commencement of the meeting.



There were no requests to address the meeting.


Sovereign Centre Task and Finish Group Update pdf icon PDF 64 KB

This report is to follow.

Additional documents:


The Head of Commercial Business presented the report to Members that summarised the work of the Sovereign Centre Task and Finish Group. The Group had looked at what options would be available for the Sovereign Centre following the construction of a new leisure centre.


The Group’s January 2019 meeting had included discussion with Stiles, Harold, Williams (commercial agents) to obtain professional, commercial advice on a broad view of the options.


The Group recognised that there was a demand for housing in a beach-front location and affordable housing would form part of the development profile. High quality retirement homes and villages were also acknowledged as a national target market. Other options looked at were: beach-front leisure facilities (water-sports), beach huts, and the opportunity for a convenience store (metro/express style of shop).


A mixed use of development was the preferred option for further exploration with a strong focus on a sustainable community in terms of a residential development, and the opportunity for economic growth through tourism and commercially related activity.


During discussion by Members the following points were highlighted:


The Council remained committed to the development of a new Sovereign Leisure Centre. The budget of £29.1 million represented a significant investment and it was incumbent on the Council to recognise its exact position in the market, as part of the process of following due diligence. The Council was working with Clear Sustainable Futures through a   process for the joint venture assessing the construction and capital costs, as well as the revenue income opportunities.


It was advised that consideration was being given to a waste to energy facility within the design of the centre, which could enhance the scheme by reducing utility costs and the carbon impact, but would require an additional capital allocation.  Councillors asked if there was the option to retro-fit such an energy facility as part of any refurbishment of the Sovereign Centre, but it was confirmed that the design of older buildings and the need to include facilities in the fabric of the building would make it very difficult to develop a viable scheme.


The business case for the new Centre was based on the budget and construction costs for that project alone. There had not been any cross-subsidy from other adjacent schemes to date. There was no ‘marriage’ value to adjacent sites and the new scheme for the Sovereign Centre was expected to work within its own budget.


Within the options appraisal process it made sense for the design and architectural elements of two builds to be worked on side-by-side, however, in terms of a business-case, the scheme for a new Sovereign Leisure Centre and the scheme for redevelopment of the existing site were two separate business cases (including capital and revenue income). If there were opportunities for cross-subsidising schemes, they would be utilised where beneficial. Officers would provide as up-to-date information as was available supporting the two schemes.


An early assessment of housing provision within the scheme estimated between 200-250 units (apartments) which would be high-density and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


Quarter 1 Performance Report pdf icon PDF 105 KB

Part B – Finance Performance report is to follow.

Additional documents:


The Performance and Programme Lead presented the Quarter 1 Performance report that detailed the Council’s performance against an agreed set of performance indicators. The points highlighted at the previous Scrutiny Committee meeting for further clarification, had been responded to in the report, or would be covered as part of the presentation to Members at the meeting.


During discussion the following points were made:


·         Bandstand - Due to its location by the sea, the Bandstand would require ongoing routine maintenance for its lifetime (including planned maintenances during the winter period).


·         Housing - South Downs Housing was a housing association (HA) that worked in partnership with the Council. The HA housed tenants facing homelessness or rough sleeping. South Downs Housing worked with tenants for a two year period to make them ‘tenancy ready’, and take them out of the cycle of homelessness. South Downs HA currently had 60 Council properties that were tenanted.


·         Housing initiatives - A new Housing Solutions Team had been set up and within the last month and 90 households (49 of who were in priority need) had presented as homeless on the day of their interaction, or within the following two weeks. The new team prevented 38 of those households from going into temporary accommodation, with the intervention saving the Council £154,700 in the same month.


·         Temporary Accommodation – A Commercial Property Team had been set up alongside the new Housing Solution team to deal with temporary accommodation and was tasked with getting families/individuals out of emergency accommodation and into temporary accommodation (allowing the subsidy to be retained) - also discharging duties to the private sector (including the Council’s own housing companies). There was now a private sector stock of housing the Council was able to control. The aspiration was for a zero target in emergency accommodation and the work undertaken was building towards this.


·         Housing waiting list - All individuals in need of social housing or in temporary and emergency accommodation were assessed in terms of need and banded. The number of properties that became available for re-let each year was approximately 100, set against approximately 1000 individuals on the waiting list. This demonstrated the value of the private housing investment companies and the importance of affordable house-building on other sites.


·         Local Plan - The Council’s Housing Delivery action plan set out actions taken towards housing strategy and how developers can be worked with to deliver housing numbers. Policy implications and whether a change of emphasis would provide more opportunities was another area being reviewed, along with the effect of the Community Infrastructure Levy. The Local Plan was previously ‘in date’ until 2027. Legislation (National Planning Policy Framework NPPF) changed requiring local authorities to update their local plans on a five-year basis. Those authorities that were under-delivering housing numbers were under additional pressure to identify further sites and land.


·         The Council’s housing target was confirmed as 668 per year and there was insufficient land in Eastbourne to meet this target.


·         Abandoned calls - The performance indicators  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.


Forward Plan of Decisions pdf icon PDF 262 KB

To receive the Forward Plan of the Council.


This item was included under discussion in item 10 on the Agenda – Annual Scrutiny Work Programme.


RESOLVED: To note the Forward Plan of Decisions.


Annual Scrutiny Work Programme pdf icon PDF 56 KB

To receive the Annual Scrutiny Work Programme.

Additional documents:


The Head of Business Planning and Performance presented the report which asked the Scrutiny Committee to agree its Annual Work Programme for 2019/2020, prior to it going via Cabinet to Full Council for approval on 13 November 2019.


Members agreed the following changes to the Committee’s work programme:


2 December meeting:

·         Sovereign Centre Task (business case review) – this would be brought to an earlier meeting if required.

·         Recycling – a report to look at recycling rates in the Borough and how they could be improved.

·         Southern Water Treatment – in response to a recent event involving untreated wastewater.

·         The Council’s process for the inspection of licensed Houses of Multiple Occupancy (HMO’s) and how targets are managed – this would be provided as a briefing prior to the 2 December meeting and included on the agenda as part of the performance report.

·         The role of scrutiny in the community and improving resident engagement.


3 February meeting

·         The Budget for 20/21 – the Committee would receive an update on the work undertaken towards the setting of the Council’s budget.

·         The A27.


RESOLVED to agree the Committee’s work programme, as set out at Appendix A to the report and subject to the amendments listed above.


Date of the next meeting

To note that the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee is scheduled to be held on 2 December in the Court Room, Town Hall, Eastbourne commencing at 6:00pm.


RESOLVED:  To note that the next meeting of the Scrutiny Committee was scheduled for Monday, 2 December 2019 in the Court Room, Eastbourne Town Hall, Grove Road, Eastbourne, BN21 4UG.