Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Kaposvar Room - Guildhall, Bath. View directions

Contact: Mark Durnford  01225 394458

Items
No. Item

11.

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTIONS

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed everyone to the meeting.

 

12.

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.

 

13.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

Minutes:

Councillor Barry Macrae had sent his apologies to the Panel, Councillor Peter Turner was present as his substitute for the duration of the meeting.

 

At the request of the Chairman, Councillor Liz Richardson acted as Vice-Chair for the duration of the meeting.

14.

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:

There were none.

15.

TO ANNOUNCE ANY URGENT BUSINESS AGREED BY THE CHAIRMAN

Minutes:

There was none.

16.

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

At the time of publication no notifications had been received.

 

Minutes:

David Redgewell, South West Transport Network addressed the Panel. He spoke about how consultation on the Joint Spatial Strategy was due to commence in November and said that the Council should consider making representations regarding public transport movements around new housing developments, bus services in general and transport corridors.

 

He said that he was also concerned over possible rural transport cuts.

17.

MINUTES - 3rd July 2018 pdf icon PDF 274 KB

Minutes:

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

18.

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

 

Broadband

 

·  The Director for Economy & Growth informed the Panel that he was to attend a meeting of the Connecting Devon & Somerset Board on 13th September to find out the latest details of the project. He said that further information on the rollout plan was available on Gigaclear’s website.

 

Housing

 

·  The Cabinet approved the Additional HMO Licensing Scheme at its meeting on 5th September 2018.

 

·  Home Improvement Agency Contract - West of England Care and Repair have been provisionally awarded the Bath and North East Somerset and Bristol City Council Home Improvement Agency contract following an OJEU procurement process. The contract supports older and vulnerable residents undertake adaptations to assist independent living, carryout essential home repairs and energy efficiency improvements and access funding for these.

 

·  Funding of Supported Housing - In December 2017, the government consulted nationally on proposals to change the way supported housing is paid for. The outline proposal put forward included plans for all short term accommodation to be commissioned by the local authority using a ring-fenced pot under a Supported Housing Strategy and for all costs, including rent, to be paid from this pot. Long term accommodation, such as sheltered housing for older people, was to remain as currently, with Housing Benefit being claimed where needed.

 

On reviewing the feedback from agencies and local authorities nationally, the government announced that it intended to withdraw the proposals and to retain the current structure for all supported housing. This means people in short term supported housing will continue to claim Housing Benefit to pay their rent. Many providers of supported housing have welcomed this announcement, as the proposal was perceived as introducing an element of uncertainty both for services already in place and any future service developments.

 

Bath Enterprise Zone

 

·  Bath Quays North - Delegated decision to approve granted by Planning Committee 1st August 2018, subject to agreement of planning conditions and s106.

 

·  Development partner procurement progresses, with Final Tender submission date set for mid-October.

 

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

 

  • Bath Quays Bridge - Tenders returned for works associated with BQS sub-structure and river wall delivery, and steel tonnage order relating to super-structure fabrication.

 

Economy & Culture

 

·  We have received confirmation of a grant of £74,500 to promote apprenticeships to B&NES residents and businesses.

 

·  Business Growth team have been visiting the traders in and around Orange Grove to understand the issues being faced due to the Abbey’s Archway project, and providing business support solutions to overcome them.

 

·  Business Growth team is now working with the WECA on the development of the Local Industrial Strategy, which will set the strategic direction of the region in terms of innovation and enterprise. It will also provide the basis of future funding agreements with Government.

 

Heritage Services

 

·  Heritage Services has made  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18.

19.

Short Term Rentals - Policy Development pdf icon PDF 130 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced this item to the Panel. He said that he was pleased that many members of the public were present and had registered to speak. He added that he hoped that the Panel would hear a balanced view on how this issue is affecting residents and businesses in Bath & North East Somerset.

 

Harry Tedstome

 

He said that he was speaking as a resident and as someone who was mindful of those that live, work and visit the City. He stated that noise and anti-social behaviour is a concern attributed to some properties of this nature and that the ability to enforce matters of health and safety is a problem.

 

He said that he was concerned over the lack of general rentable properties there are for residents / would be residents and that he was aware of a case recently where following a bidding war one family had agreed to rent a property for £2,400 a month.

 

Councillor Peter Turner commented that for enforcement to be carried out that officers rely on complaints.

 

Harry Tedstome replied that he acknowledged that and the need for evidence to be consistently logged.

 

John Turner, CEO of Visit Somerset

 

He said that there are many issues facing our accommodation sector including online travel agents, up skilling of the accommodation sector in a very technically savvy environment and of course AirBnB.

 

He stated that one of his major concerns relating to AirBnB is their pricing strategy. With over 1100 AirBnB's alone in Bath there is a real danger that the whole convenience angle that AirBnB push in their marketing might overshadow 'a greater issue'. He explained that in marketing terms this is called 'Price Penetration Strategy’, where businesses or retailers in essence will lower their prices to destroy traditional markets or competition.

 

He added that what we have with AirBnB (as has been reported) is the unfairness of their trading environment, allowing AirBnB to get away without paying rates and regulatory costs.

 

He said that working in the way AirBnB works supports a constructive 'price elasticity of demand' strategy, meaning AirBnB unlike other accommodation providers can not only promote technology and flexibility but also lower their prices and keep them artificially low against industry norms, due to low overheads. This is a lethal concoction.

 

If this is allowed to continue we will not be able to sustain a traditional accommodation economy in the region. We should learn lessons very quickly from the demise of the high street.

 

Finally we are looking at a proactive way of working against disruption and are supporting our members throughout the region in up skilling to engage with a more technically equipped customer that literally wants to book through their mobile phone and with quick and convenient viewing and booking.

 

Councillor Peter Turner asked if he had seen the governance documents of AirBnB.

 

John Turner replied that he had and that he considered them to be fair and proper and acknowledged that they provide a portal for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

Social Housing Affordability pdf icon PDF 170 KB

This report explains the formal planning policy and housing sector definitions for affordable housing, the different rented tenures this incorporates and provides information on the costs of new affordable housing currently being secured.

Minutes:

The Team Manager, Enabling & Development introduced this report to the Panel. She explained that a briefing paper on this issue was presented initially to the Local Development Framework Steering Group and was now being presented to the Panel for their information.

 

She said that it should be noted the NPPF definition of Affordable housing has now been revised but that this makes little impact on the delivery of affordable rented tenures in B&NES.

 

She stated that consultation following the Housing White Paper was carried out earlier this year and a softening from a prescribed level of starter home delivery has resulted instead in a fixed % requirement for low cost home ownership delivery.

 

She informed the Panel that social rented homes are the Council’s preferred rented tenure and the majority of affordable housing delivery remains for social rent.

 

She said that sometimes our housing association partners deliver homes as Affordable Rent Tenure (ART) which was introduced in 2011/12 by the Government as its preferred rented tenure.  She said that ART homes have a rent of no more than 80% of market rent and include all service and estate charges.  She added that most rented homes delivered with government funding or that the housing association puts into their Homes England (HE) programme will be ART, but here in B&NES we require ART rents to be delivered below Local Housing Allowance levels or 80% of market rent whichever is the lower, and housing associations can sometimes achieve ART rents at similar affordability to social rent levels plus service charge.

 

She stated that the biggest issue faced by households on lower incomes and in receipt of welfare benefit, is the challenge faced by households seeking to meet their family’s housing and other needs within the £20,000 benefit cap (£13,400 for single person households).

 

She said that in Bath particularly, new larger family homes for rent do cause concerns around affordability and there is also a significant issue arising with housing for single people, whose housing options are limited due to supply and affordability.

 

She stated that the challenge for the affordable housing sector is how to address this affordability concern in a way that fits within regulation, expectations on value for money, development viability and growing need.

 

She said however that greater affordability comes at greater cost - the lower the rent, the lower the amount of borrowing that can be supported and the higher level of subsidy required.

 

She said that officers will continue to work with developers and our housing association partners to address affordability concerns, looking at innovation, funding, making best use of housing stock and will be using the opportunities provided by the New Local Plan and resulting SPD to re-establish affordability parameters in light of the welfare benefit caps.

 

She stated that members of the LDF Steering Group have asked what they can do at Party and Central Government level to help address the affordability issues in the District.  She said that two key suggestions to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

Panel Workplan pdf icon PDF 109 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 confirmed the reports expected for November and January and said that they could expect to also have Service Plan reports in January.

 

He suggested whether the Panel wanted to hear further information on a piece of work from the University Students Union regarding ‘house shares’.

 

Councillor Liz Richardson suggested that the Panel receive a report on the Joint Spatial Plan in March 2019.

 

Councillor Rob Appleyard suggested the Panel receive information on the provision / supply of the local retail sector.