Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Kaposvar Room - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Mark Durnford  01225 394458

Items
No. Item

59.

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.

 

60.

EMERGENCY EVACUATION PROCEDURE

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

 

Minutes:

The Chairman drew attention to the emergency evacuation procedure.

 

61.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Minutes:

There were none.

62.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

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.

Minutes:

Councillor Liz Richardson declared a disclosable pecuniary interest in agenda item 9 (Museum Forward Plans 2018 – 2021) as she is a part time lecturer for a Fashion Degree course at Bath Spa University.

63.

TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIRMAN

Minutes:

There was none.

64.

ITEMS FROM THE PUBLIC OR COUNCILLORS - TO RECEIVE DEPUTATIONS, STATEMENTS, PETITIONS OR QUESTIONS RELATING TO THE BUSINESS OF THIS MEETING

Two members of the public, Fiona Wilde and David Redgewell have registered to make a statement at this meeting.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman acknowledged that he had received a statement in writing on behalf of David Redgewell and said that the contents were more appropriate to the Communities, Transport & Environment Panel, he would therefore forward it to them.

 

Fiona Wilde made a statement to the Panel on the subject of Airbnb’s. A copy of the statement can be found on the Panel’s Minute Book and as an online attachment to these minutes, a summary is set out below.

 

I wish to raise my concerns about the proliferation of flats in Bath rented out in their entirety as Airbnb’s, and state how this affects me directly.

 

There are currently 896 Airbnb lets in Bath – the number of lets having increased by 66% over the previous year.

 

Airbnb started out as people letting out a spare room in their own home on a short term basis, or their flat when they were away on holiday. What worries me is that now, entire flats are commonly used as Airbnbs in increasing number – particularly those in short supply – studio, 1 bed and 2 bed flats. Over 350 of Airbnb lets currently available in Bath are 1 or 2 bedroom flats.

 

In 2015 the Government amended the law to allow the short term let of properties in London not exceeding 90 days a year. It is up to the Local Authorities of other cities to decide whether to apply this for themselves. Bath and North East Somerset Council is clearly not doing so.

 

Last year, the long-term tenant of the flat above me was evicted purely so that the owner could renovate and let the flat out as an Airbnb. She lists it as her ‘home’ which is untrue as she lives elsewhere in Bath.

 

My rent is £19.40 a day, a weekly rent of £136.10, £590 a month.

 

The Airbnb above me is currently charging £80 a day, which is a weekly rent of £560, £2480 a month.

 

The huge profits when the 90 day limit is not enforced are clearly a massive incentive. My concern is that, with the prospect of such easy money, there is very little reason for the owner of my flat not to do the same, either becoming an Airbnb host herself, or selling the flat to the owner of the flat above me, allowing her to extend her Airbnb ‘business’ to two properties.

 

In the case that my home becomes an Airbnb – what are my chances of finding an affordable place to live – with rents continually increasing and available flats disappearing in order to exploit this Airbnb loophole? I cannot afford the extortionate rents charged for the new builds or the current flats which are becoming harder to find, and I am not alone in this.

 

My flat is in a highly desirable area for tourists and there are already at least three other Airbnbs in my street. Bath is particularly vulnerable to Airbnb because of its high level of tourism to a proportionately  ...  view the full minutes text for item 64.

65.

MINUTES - 13th March 2018 pdf icon PDF 129 KB

Minutes:

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

66.

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.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Bob Goodman, Cabinet Member for Development and Neighbourhoods addressed the Panel, a summary of his update is set out below.

 

Joint Spatial Plan – The Plan has been submitted and the inspectors are already engaged with our officers and asking questions. It is expected that the examination in public will take place in September / October.

 

Local Plan – Members of the Local Development Framework Steering Group have been working hard on this matter, especially with regard to Student Accommodation, Affordability and provision for Elderly People.

 

Councillor Barry Macrae said that there was a need for substantive documents to be in place. He asked with regard to housing units, who is analysing the needs of the people wanting this provision.

 

He added that the Council should endeavour to clarify and help to better quantify (with Developers) that future housing provision should be of more direct value to ...and in locations better suited to.... a wider range of potential occupier “demographics” - such as empty-nesters, elderly-singles, newly-weds, working couples - rather than relying only upon only commercial house developers’ aspirations of  ‘three-bed-semis-with-gardens’.

 

And furthermore, that NEW housing provisions be built primarily in locations where local jobs, leisure and health/community services already exist & are accessible, rather than continue to impose them upon remote green-field, small rural/village locations which currently exacerbates the debilitating and environmentally damaging daily commuting and then requires subsequent significant new, rate-payer funded, transport/care/education infrastructure & other community resources to support it.

 

Councillor Goodman replied that this would be addressed through the work on the Local Plan.

 

The Chairman commented as to whether it was right that units designed for younger people are often of a smaller size.

 

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

 

Housing

 

·  Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) Rough Sleeper Bid – B&NES has been invited to work with MHCLG on enhancing our response to rough sleeping with the aim of reducing the numbers of individuals resorting to sleeping out this coming winter. Officers have been meeting with MHCLG representatives to co-produce a bid that will seek to build on local good practice. The bid is currently being worked up with input from partner-providers and MHCLG in preparation for the 18 May deadline for submission.

 

·  End of programme Affordable Housing delivery – As forecast, the 2016-2018 affordable housing programme target of 465 new affordable homes has been exceed quite significantly to 527. This was largely due to the Council and its partners securing additional affordable housing funding for specialist schemes and the activity of our housing association partners in securing additional affordable housing opportunities.

 

·  Consultation on expansion of Additional HMO Licensing Scheme – The 10 week consultation (due to close on 25th May 2018), on the proposal for a new City wide additional HMO licensing scheme, is still live which includes on-line surveys, interviews and 2x public events which took place on:

o  Thursday 19th  ...  view the full minutes text for item 66.

67.

Museum Forward Plans 2018-2021 pdf icon PDF 91 KB

This report introduces the 3-year forward plans for the Fashion Museum, Roman Baths Museum and Victoria Art Gallery necessary to attain Full Accreditation status with Arts Council England (ACE).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Head of Heritage Services introduced this report to the Panel. He explained that the 3-year forward plans for the Fashion Museum, Roman Baths Museum and Victoria Art Gallery are necessary to attain Full Accreditation status with Arts Council England (ACE). He said that the Government’s Accreditation scheme requires governing body approval and the forward plans will go forward for formal adoption by single member decision in June 2018.

 

He stated the forward plans will be delivered within existing resources and no new funds are sought. The museum forward plans will be delivered within the Service’s cash limits as adopted by the Council in the Heritage Services 5-year rolling Business Plan.

 

He informed the Panel that the museum forward plans will contribute to the Heritage Services’ Service Aims, which are:

-  to enhance the quality of life for residents of Bath & North East Somerset;

-  to maximise public enjoyment of the Council’s world class heritage;

-  to enable people to learn from the activities and achievements of past and present societies;

-  to promote understanding and appreciation of different cultures;

-  to contribute to the district's economic prosperity through our Business Plan.

 

Councillor Lisa O’Brien asked who pays the costs when items are loaned from the Fashion Museum.

 

The Head of Heritage Services replied that the facility in receipt of the items pays for the transport / courier and associated costs.

 

Councillor Lisa O’Brien asked what the end of lease options for the Fashion Museum were, could the Guildhall be an option. She added that if further storage for items from the Roman Baths were required, could the site of the Bath Community Academy be used.

 

She stated that she was not impressed by the plan for the Victoria Art Gallery and that she would like to see sculptures featured more as she felt this would generate more visitors.

 

The Head of Heritage Services replied that the Guildhall would not really be an option for the Fashion Museum as textiles need controlled light and conditions to protect them. He acknowledged that the museum does need a new lease of life and that attracting people to the current site is difficult. He said that there have been some discussions about a potential offer within a new build site.

 

He added that the partnership with Bath Spa University is flourishing and that for the past two years an ex Bath Spa student has been awarded Designer of the Year.

 

He said that storing items at Bath Community Academy had not been considered previously by officers.

 

He explained that most items within the Victoria Art Gallery are sourced locally and that he would look to show more sculptured items where possible.

 

Councillor Barry Macrae questioned whether the Fashion Museum required a central location or could it be transferred to an appropriate academic site. He added that he would like to see more work in the future carried out with local areas and their respective museums.

 

The Head of Heritage Services replied that they  ...  view the full minutes text for item 67.

68.

Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 107 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.

 

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced this item to the Panel. He informed them that at the most recent agenda setting meeting they had discussed receiving a report in either July or September on the subject of ‘Housing Choices for Vulnerable People’ and that even prior to the earlier public statement they had proposed to receive a report on Airbnb in September.

 

Councillor Rob Appleyard queried the value of pursuing the WECA invite. He suggested that the Panel could either ask questions through the appropriate Cabinet Member or Councillor Liz Richardson in her role on the West of England Combined Authority Overview & Scrutiny Committee.

 

Councillor Colin Blackburn called for the briefing paper on Broadband to be chased as it was promised to the Panel some time ago.

 

The Chairman agreed and said following its receipt they could then decide on what matters require further debate.

 

Councillor Lisa O’Brien asked if the Panel could scrutinise the work of Bath Tourism Plus and whether the investment justifies the progress that has been made within the area. She added that this could be linked to work involving Airbnb.

 

Councillor Liz Richardson asked re: Airbnb, how the policing of the 90 days of use would be carried out.

 

Councillor Colin Blackburn said that Airbnbs in Berlin don’t allow bookings to take place once the limit has been reached. He added that the Panel should receive a report and that information on safety and standards should be contained within it.

 

Councillor Rob Appleyard suggested the Panel hold a Scrutiny Inquiry Day or something similar on this matter.

 

The Chairman said that he would speak further on this issue with officers to gain their views and advice.