Agenda and minutes

Venue: Aix en Provence Room - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Mark Durnford  01225 394458

No. Item




The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.




The Chair will draw attention to the emergency evacuation procedure as set out under Note 6.



The Chairman drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.





There were none.



At this point in the meeting declarations of interest are received from Members in any of the agenda items under consideration at the meeting. Members are asked to indicate:

(a) The agenda item number in which they have an interest to declare.

(b) The nature of their interest.

(c) Whether their interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an other interest,  (as defined in Part 2, A and B of the Code of Conduct and Rules for Registration of Interests)

Any Member who needs to clarify any matters relating to the declaration of interests is recommended to seek advice from the Council’s Monitoring Officer or a member of his staff before the meeting to expedite dealing with the item during the meeting.


There were none.




The Chairman informed the Panel that Councillor Paul Myers would speak as expected under item 8 (Cabinet Member Update) and that Councillor Bob Goodman would address them later on his return from another meeting. He also advised them that prior to the reports listed on the agenda that the Head of Housing would give them a presentation to set the scene and to give context to the other reports.



At the time of publication no notifications had been received.



There were none.


MINUTES - 16th January 2018 pdf icon PDF 99 KB


Councillor Liz Richardson asked that her question in relation to Broadband Connect Vouchers under the Cabinet Member Update be recorded in the minutes.


The Democratic Services Officer confirmed that he had a note of the question and would add the following wording to the minutes.


522 vouchers have been issued as part of the Government trial to improve broadband speeds in homes in Bath & North East Somerset.


Councillor Liz Richardson asked where the majority of the vouchers had been issued.


The Divisional Director for Community Regeneration replied that it was the Chew Valley area that had received the vast majority of the vouchers.


The Panel confirmed the minutes of the previous meeting with this amendment as a true record and they were duly signed by the Chairman.


Cabinet Member Update

The Cabinet Member(s) will update the Panel on any relevant issues. Panel members may ask questions on the update(s) provided.



Councillor Paul Myers, Cabinet Member for Economic and Community Regeneration addressed the Panel, a summary of his update is set out below.




Curo have recently made the decision to stop plans for the redevelopment of the Foxhill site and focus investment in refurbishment of current properties. The Council has and maintains a balanced view on this project and will look to facilitate better communications between local residents and Curo.


Councillor Rob Appleyard asked if a timescale for the Judicial Review relating to Foxhill was known.


The Divisional Director for Development replied that this was a decision that the Courts would make and she was not aware of any dates yet.


Proposal for a new City wide additional HMO licensing scheme to be introduced from January 2019.  The 10 week consultation will be starting in March 2018 on the proposed scheme including: type of HMOs to be included; area to be designated; alternatives considered.


The Government is consulting on a new framework for rents on supported and sheltered homes, which may see fundamental changes in how housing costs for short term supported housing is paid for and the establishment of a ‘Sheltered Housing rent’.  It is expected that we will be required to develop Supported Housing Strategies which will be used to allocate resultant government funding for supported housing.


Bath Enterprise Zone


·  Bath Quays North - The determination process for the Outline Planning Application for comprehensive redevelopment of the Avon St coach and carpark progresses, with initial response clarifications received from the LPA. The project team and supporting consultants are working to provide responses with a target date of Q1 2018.


·  Bath Quays South - Strong market response received during soft marketing phases for Council delivered commercial office. Commercial Estate Investment SMD paper approved.


Design team re-engaged to review potential changes to design to allow for a multi tenanted, rather than single tenanted building. Building completion anticipated late 2019.


Funding - £12.5m of Housing Infrastructure Fund (HIF) funding secured following successful bid to Homes England. Bid supports longer-term housing and economic growth objectives by enabling relocation of the City’s waste transfer station and strategic land to come forwards for residential development.


Heritage Services


·  Fashion Museum loans: Two loans are going to two separate exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York this month: a wax mannequin bust will be displayed in Like Life at The Met Breuer; and a miniature 18th century court dress (fashion doll’s dress) will be a star exhibit in Visitors to Versailles at The Met Fifth Avenue. These loans highlight the international importance of our Fashion Museum collections.


·  Extreme weather conditions: The effect of the adverse weather conditions in the week Monday 26 February to Sunday 4 March, which included two days of enforced closure, was a loss of just under 6,000 visitors to the Roman Baths, resulting in a drop in primary and secondary income of c92,000. This is a reminder of how fluctuations in visitor numbers can affect income and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 54.

Housing Presentation pdf icon PDF 774 KB


Empty Residential Property Policy 2018 pdf icon PDF 150 KB

The emerging policy has been developed to reduce duplication of effort by different service areas of the Council in their work on empty properties and to take advantage of changes to the statutory tools available to the Council to deal with nuisance empty properties.

Additional documents:


The Team Manager for Enabling & Development introduced this report to the Panel. She explained that the current empty homes policy was adopted in July 2013 and that it focussed on properties that had been empty for 2 years or more. She said that since the empty property policy was adopted 317 properties have been brought back into use (target 35 properties p/a).


She stated that the emerging policy has been developed to reduce duplication of effort by different service areas of the Council in their work on empty properties and to take advantage of changes to the statutory tools available to the Council to deal with nuisance empty properties. She said that the significant changes include the proactive involvement of the Empty Property Officer on homes empty from 6 months, more effective sharing of data, a stronger approach to fraud identification and a new approach to prioritising properties for targeted action.


She briefly spoke of the use of Community Protection Notices and formal Warning Letters to force engagement with the owners of nuisance empty properties. She explained that this option for enforcement action was introduced in the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 to help address nuisance that is having a significantly detrimental effect on the community.


She said that the new processes for close cross-service working, primarily with Council Tax will prevent the duplication of work and maximize income generation. She added that by aligning the work of the Empty Property Officer with the work of Council Tax Enforcement Officers we can maximize the New Homes Bonus return, identify and investigate Council Tax fraud (wrongful claim of Single Persons Discount and non-payment of the Empty Property Premium) and ensure correct and consistent data on empty properties is being recorded and reported.


She informed the Panel that the new Empty Residential Property Policy would be subject to a Single Member Decision after 14th March 2018.


Councillor Lisa O’Brien asked if any type of properties were exempt from paying the Empty Property Premium.


The Team Manager for Enabling & Development replied that empty properties of residents that have entered nursing care and those owned by the Church were exempt, as well as other exemptions as detailed on the Council’s web site:


Councillor Lisa O’Brien asked why there was a waiting time of two years before the increase in Council Tax to 150%.


The Team Manager for Enabling & Development replied that this was due to Government legislation.


Councillor Lisa O’Brien commented that she would like to see similar work that would tackle empty non-residential properties such as the old King Edward’s School site in Broad Street.


Councillor Colin Blackburn asked what % of the 153 Empty Property Officer’s ‘Active cases’ list of properties empty for more than 2 years were owned by B&NES and were flats above shops.


The Team Manager for Enabling & Development replied that she would have to research that answer and respond to the Panel in due course.


Councillor Liz Richardson commented that she felt that the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 55.


Affordable Housing Delivery in the Bath Enterprise Zone pdf icon PDF 491 KB

This report informs the Panel of the current housing situation in the Enterprise Zone and the steps being made to help address housing need to support the delivery of a vibrant and economically sustainable City, whilst continuing to meet general affordable housing need in Bath.


The Divisional Director for Community Regeneration introduced this report alongside the Team Manager for Enabling & Development. He explained that the Council is aiming to maximise Government funding opportunities to help unlock and accelerate delivery of new homes in the City and that this must be balanced against the delivery of around 11,000 new jobs within the Enterprise Zone.


He highlighted three indicators to show the importance of delivering the Enterprise Zone as planned.


  • Industrial sites within B&NES currently have a less than 1% vacancy rate.
  • Figure of net jobs created in Bath is low. The Core Strategy highlighted a need for 400 net new jobs per year between 2011-2016 in Bath. The latest figures suggest a net gain of 30 per year during that period. This shows the importance of the Enterprise Zone in creating new jobs. Local Government funding has reduced significantly.
  • The Enterprise Zone designation allows for the Council to retain 100% of Business Rates and this could equate to around £2m per year from the Bath Quays sites alone.


Councillor Rob Appleyard sought clarification on comments that could be made by members of the Panel who may also have a role on future Development Management Committee meetings involving the Enterprise Zone.


The Divisional Director for Development replied that Councillors must maintain an open mind regarding applications and not comment in such a way that would indicate any pre-determination.


The Team Manager for Enabling & Development commented that delivering a wide range of affordable housing options is vital to securing the success of the Enterprise Zone. She added that this means that as well as delivering homes to meet a traditional affordable housing need, the Council needs to look at ways of delivering affordable housing products targeted at individuals, couples and families working or looking to work in the City. She said that this supply will also support current major employers, such as the RUH and even the Council, for whom local house prices can be a major impediment to the recruitment and retention of staff.


She stated that there is a need to have an innovative approach to affordable housing and highlighted one such development of 5 ‘micro homes’ at the site of the former Banglo Pub on Lower Bristol Road at a 25% discount from the Open Market Value (OMV).


She explained that the levels of historic direct subsidy for affordable housing delivery are no longer sustainable, so the Council is working to secure capital finance through a number of possible grant/funding mechanisms;


·  Bath Quays: £7.5m Homes England Accelerated Delivery Fund

·  Bath Riverside: £12.6m Homes England Housing Infrastructure Fund: Marginal Viability

·  Bath Riverside: £7.5m Accelerated Delivery Fund specific to relocation and remediation of recycling centre

·  Growth Deal: £10m initial land purchase funding within the EZ


Councillor Lisa O’Brien said that she appreciated the number of jobs that the Enterprise Zone were looking to deliver, but questioned the viability in being able to provide affordable properties for these individuals / couples. She questioned whether any accommodation could  ...  view the full minutes text for item 56.


Additional HMO Licensing Update pdf icon PDF 107 KB

The report asks the Panel to consider whether in due course Cabinet will need to make a decision to designate a new additional licensing scheme post 31st December 2018, and if so, in what locality and for what classes of House in Multiple Occupation (HMO).

Additional documents:


The Chairman began this item by reading out an email from the Vice President of Student Welfare at Bath Spa University, it read as follows;


‘Unfortunately I don't think I can make it tomorrow due to other meetings, but I can feed in my comments.


Based on our understanding of the paper, we think that the plans for an additional HMO licence to cover the whole of Bath would be beneficial. Students are now living as far out as Keynsham and Radstock due to the current pressures, and those areas that are not currently covered are subject to a range of substandard conditions.


We have just released out Housing survey to find out the conditions, cost, and even availability of housing that our students are currently dealing with. We have received multiple reports of student homelessness or sofa surfers in recent months, and are keen to get the private housing sector to a standard of living that students can afford.’


The Chairman said that he would ask for the findings of the survey to be shared with the Panel.


The Team Manager for Standards & Improvement introduced the report to the Panel. He informed them that Housing Services have launched a 3 month public consultation exercise, led by appointed contractor MEL on a proposed new additional HMO licensing scheme which would cover HMOs with shared facilities across the city of Bath.  He said that the exercise will include details of the scheme design; marketing of the proposal; open facilitated events with interested parties; and on-line survey forms.


He stated that the current scheme had been beneficial in improving standards across the designated area by reducing significant hazards, addressing management failures and improving welfare conditions. He added that this includes the improvement of around a third of licenced HMOs which did not meet the minimum statutory standard.


He explained that evidence gathered from a number of sources supports the conclusion that a significant proportion of HMOs in Bath City sharing one or more essential facilities are being managed sufficiently ineffectively as to give rise, or to be likely to give rise, to one or more particular problems either for those occupying the HMOs or for members of the public.


He informed the Panel that in due course the Cabinet will need to make a decision on whether to designate a new additional licensing scheme post 31st December 2018, and if so, in what locality and for what classes of House in Multiple Occupation.


Councillor Rob Appleyard said that he welcomed the review, but would also like to see the residents within North East Somerset considered for such a scheme.


The Team Manager for Standards & Improvement replied that this aspect was considered but that legal advice was received to say that there was not enough evidence at this stage.


Councillor Rob Appleyard said that he would like the idea of a two stage process to be considered.


Councillor Lisa O’Brien commented that residents within Keynsham have approached her on this matter and agreed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 57.


Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 110 KB

This report presents the latest workplan for the Panel. Any suggestions for further items or amendments to the current programme will be logged and scheduled in consultation with the Panel’s Chair and supporting officers.



Councillor Rob Appleyard if the item on the workplan entitled ‘Future of Retailing in District Centres’ could be assigned to a meeting date of the Panel.


Councillor Lisa O’Brien agreed that this was an essential topic to cover.


The Chairman said that from his recollection the Strategic Director for Place felt that the July meeting could be an appropriate date.


Councillor Liz Richardson suggested that the Panel discuss the Joint Strategic Plan in its final form at their May meeting.


Councillor Eleanor Jackson asked if representatives from Curo could be invited to a meeting of the Panel to inform them of their future plans.


The Chairman replied that as a Judicial Review was underway regarding the Foxhill site he would have to take advice on when such a meeting could take place.


Councillor Lisa O’Brien agreed that it would be useful to hear from them when appropriate.


Councillor Liz Richardson commented that she agreed with the proposal, but asked for consideration to be given for other housing providers to also be invited to attend.


The Chairman thanked the Panel and said that he would discuss the matters raised further with the Strategic Director for Place at their next agenda planning meeting.