Agenda and minutes
Venue: Online Virtual Meeting
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Apologies for absence and clarification of alternate members
Apologies were received from Councillor Mashari. In the absence of the Chair, the Committee noted that Councillor Kansagra (as Vice-Chair) would chair the meeting.
Declarations of interests
Members are invited to declare at this stage of the meeting, the nature and existence of any relevant disclosable pecuniary, personal or prejudicial interests in the items on this agenda and to specify the item(s) to which they relate.
In relation to Item 4, Councillors Johnson and Mahmood declared a personal (non-pecuniary) interest as they were members of the Planning Committee and had been present at the meeting on 12 August 2020, during which application 20/0345 1 Morland Gardens, London, NW10 8DY (referenced in the called-in decision) was determined.
Councillor Miller also declared a personal (non-pecuniary) interest as he had been a member of the Cabinet on 14 January 2020 when the decision to approve the Morland Gardens Redevelopment Scheme (references in the called-in decision) was made.
Deputations (if any)
To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 67.
To consider a call-in in respect of thedecision madeby the Operational Director – Property & Assets on behalf of the Strategic Director - Regeneration & Environment on 26 August 2020regarding the contract for refurbishment works at Stonebridge Annexe, Twybridge Way.
The Chair clarified the purpose of the meeting to those in attendance and made reference to the report which outlined the background of the called-in decision made by the Operational Director – Property & Assets on behalf of the Strategic Director – Regeneration & Environment in respect of the award of a contract for enabling works at Stonebridge Annexe, Stonebridge, NW10 0ST.
The Chair then invited Councillor Lloyd to outline the reasons for the call-in, and the alternative action being sought, on behalf of those members that had called the decision in. Comments were made as follows:
· Officers had confirmed that there were no compelling reasons for urgency of the decision, and as such nothing was prejudiced by the call-in. Officers had also confirmed that the works outlined in the called-in decision would not be undertaken should the Morland Gardens planning decision be delayed or not implemented, however that had not been made clear in the report.
· There was concern that the decision would commit the Council to expenditure that may be wasted should the Morland Gardens planning decision be delayed or not implemented, and that there was a high burden of responsibility on the Operational Director – Property & Assets, was shown as the lead officer and also signed off the called-in decision report.
· There was no evidence in the decision report that any consideration had been given to whether Stonebridge Annexe contained bat roosts, or whether the enabling works would disrupt bats in a manner prohibited by legislation.
· Those members who had called the decision in were aware of a new Morland Gardens bat assessment and preliminary Stonebridge Annexe bat assessment. In both cases, the possibility of the works disrupting bats in a manner prohibited by legislation had been highlighted.
· In light of this, those members who had called the decision in felt the award of a contract for the enabling works at Stonebridge Annexe should be postponed until the recommendations of the bat assessments and the requirements of the Habitat Directive had been fully assessed and complied with.
· The Council should ensure adequate training for officers on the requirements of the Habitat Directive and consider having mechanisms in place to ensure any building with potential bat presence would be properly surveyed, even if no planning consent was required.
The Chair then invited Philip Grant, a member of the public who had requested to speak in support of the call-in, to address the Committee. Comments were made as follows:
· Concerns were raised at the called-in decision beng signed off by the Operational Director – Property & Assets on behalf od the Strategic Director – Regeneration & Environment given that he had also recommended the proposed decision.
· These concerns were further highlighted by Brent Property Services also leading the Morland Gardens project. Whilst the original Morland Gardens design had retained its locally listed Victorian villa, this had since been changed. By 2019 the design had changed and the villa would be demolished, and it was felt that this was done without consideration of its ... view the full minutes text for item 4.