Report of the Head of Planning, Transportation and Environment (PTE/19/38), on the construction of a community facilities building, including space for children's, youth and libraries facilities, attached.
(Councillors Connett, Hannaford and Randall Johnson attended in accordance with Standing Order 25(2) and spoke to this item).
The Cabinet considered the Report of the Head of Planning Transportation and Environment (PTE/19/38) on the construction of a community facilities building, including space for children's, youth and libraries facilities, circulated prior to the meeting in accordance with regulation 7(4) of the Local Authorities (Executive Arrangements) (Meetings and Access to Information) (England) Regulations 2012.
The new town of Cranbrook (East Devon) was expected to grow to about 7,750 homes with over 18,000 residents by 2031. The town had been delivered through a commercial delivery model with no public sector control of land. The model was dependent on a legally binding (section 106 agreement) that established trigger points for the delivery of facilities with financial payments and delivery of land.
The process of coordinating infrastructure and service requirements was complex and the
Council and other agencies faced significant challenges in supporting the health and social needs of the growing number of residents. The early delivery of a community facility would allow provision of critical County Council services to support the growing population, in line with the Council’s aim to promote resilient, healthy, prosperous, connected and safe communities.
The Cabinet also noted the establishment of a Cranbrook Strategic Delivery Board (an advisory board) comprising Members of the County Council, District Council and Cranbrook Town Council. The board would meet quarterly and focus on coordinating the delivery of future assets and services for Cranbrook.
The proposal was for a multi-purpose integrated building to meet the functions of the Council and ability to adapt to future changes in service provision. This would provide flexible space for children’s, youth, adult and library services with potential use for public health and highways services and council working space, in particular, the Council’s Public Health Nursing Service.
Subject to funding to enable early delivery, the aim would be to complete the building within the next two years, subject to other processes such as the transferring of necessary land and potential renegotiation of existing planning agreements.
Public consultation had been undertaken at appropriate stages of preparing the Cranbrook
Plan, which had been submitted to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local
Government for examination. There were ongoing discussions with Local Members and formal public consultation would be undertaken as part of the statutory procedures for determining the planning application for the building.
The Council would seek partnerships with a range of organisations to develop the facilities and services within. It would also seek a range of capital funding from local and national partners to accelerate the delivery. Feasibility and design work had yet to be undertaken, therefore the estimated cost was unknown. Also, the funding gap between this and the money available from the existing planning agreement would not be known until this was renegotiated with the developers.
The development would be subject to full environmental analysis as part of the design and
planning application process, but the provision of a community facilities building within the town centre was considered to minimise the environmental impact of service provision at Cranbrook. The building would be designed to appropriate environmental standards to meet the Climate Emergency agenda.
In addition, following approval to progress the scheme, an Impact Assessment would be undertaken alongside development of detailed scheme design.
The matter having been debated and the options and/or alternatives and other relevant factors (e.g. financial, sustainability (including carbon impact), risk management, equality and legal considerations and Public Health impact) set out in the Head of Service’s Report and/or referred to above having been considered:
it was MOVED by Councillor Gilbert, SECONDED by Councillor Hart, and
(a) that the proposal to deliver a community facilities building in Cranbrook town centre providing flexible space for County Council services including children’s, youth, adults and libraries be approved;
(b) that officers be empowered to renegotiate the existing planning agreement to allow the provision of an integrated building at an earlier timescale;
(c) that authority be delegated to officers to seek sources of funding to bridge any funding
(d) that the Membership of the new Cranbrook Strategic Delivery Board be attended by the Cabinet Member for Economy and Skills and one of the two Local Members.