Agenda and minutes

Cabinet Capital Assets Committee - Tuesday 26 July 2011 1.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber - Council Offices, Bradley Road, Trowbridge, BA14 0RD. View directions

Contact: Chris Marsh  01225 713058 Email:

No. Item



To receive any apologies for absence.


There were no apologies for absence.


Minutes of the previous meeting

To confirm and sign as a correct record the minutes of the Cabinet Capital Assets Committee meeting held on 14 June 2011.

Supporting documents:


The minutes of the meeting held 14 June 2011 were presented and it was,




To approve and sign the minutes as a correct record.


Chairman's Announcements


The Chairman noted that there would be no regular capital monitoring update, owing to this being an extraordinary meeting.


The Chairman announced that due to particular public interest, item 7, Corsham Mansion House and Library, would be taken as the first of the main items of business.


Declarations of interest

To receive any declarations of personal or prejudicial interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.


Cllr Alan Macrae declared a personal interest in item 7, Corsham Mansion House and Library, owing to his knowing individuals working for the proposed partner, Hadston Ltd.


Policy for the Transfer of Community Assets



To consider the attached report of the Head of Strategic Property Services, regarding proposals for a revised Community Asset Transfer Policy.

Supporting documents:


Cllr Toby Sturgis, Cabinet Member for Waste, Property, Environment and Development Control, introduced the item and summarised the recommendations made. He drew Members’ attention to the following points:


·         That the original Community Asset Transfer policy had been approved by Cabinet in 2009;

·         This policy has been progressively less fit for purpose in light of the Council’s priorities and problems encountered in respect of some prospective transfers;

·         That a review of the original policy was ordered by the Cabinet Capital Assets Committee at their meeting on 10 January 2011; and

·         That the report represents the outcome of the review process and a solution to address the issues encountered with asset transfer to date.


The Cabinet Member circulated an accompanying flow chart diagram indicating the progression of a typical asset transfer request under the proposed new policy, as request by the Organisation and Resources Select Committee in their examination of this issue.


Cllr Jeff Osborn, Chairman of the Organisation and Resources Select Committee, expressed his views in respect of the proposals as follows:


·         That the flow chart is welcomed and provides greater clarity on the process;

·         That a key challenge is the degree of realism of community groups’ proposals, although well-intentioned, when transfers can be subject to complicated and expensive legal issues that may gradually emerge; and

·         That the policy should enable the successful transfer of assets wherever practicable, and that officers should make reliable advice available to interested parties at the soonest opportunity, especially in light of the above point.


Cllrs Stuart Wheeler, Fleur de Rhe-Philipe and John Noeken expressed their support for the proposed new policy and emphasised their appreciation of the inevitability of occasional legal issues, as above. It was agreed that the availability of early advice would be pivotal in the successful implementation and application of the policy.


It was,




1.     That the Cabinet (Capital Assets) Committee approves the approach to the transfer of community assets as detailed in the report.


2.     That the Cabinet (Capital Assets) Committee approves that decisions related to Category 2 and Category 3 applications under the policy are delegated to Area Boards;


3.     That a plan for communication of this decision be developed in conjunction with Democratic Services, Area Board Team and Communications, together with the development of an improved guidance document to support all parties involved in the process.


Mechanical & Electrical Servicing Contracts

To consider the attached report of the Head of Strategic Property Services, regarding proposals to delegate to the Director, Resources, to award contracts for future mechanical and electrical servicing of Council buildings.

Supporting documents:


The Cabinet Member for Resources introduced the report and summarised the recommendations made. He made the following points:


·         That permission was sought to progress the procurement process to secure future building maintenance and engineering contracts;

·         That the authority has inherited a multitude of legacy contracts from the previous four district councils and county council;

·         That this process seeks to reduce the number of contractors from around 60 currently to seven or fewer;

·         This is expected to realise savings of around 10% on the current figure, equating to around £125,000 annually;

·         That some tender documents have already been received from prospective contractors, and these will be evaluated in August and September with a view to any contract award in October 2011; and

·         That initial contract award may be later supplemented by smaller service packages.


The Chairman asked whether and what provision had been made to support local contractors and employees in the contracting process. The Building Maintenance Manager in attendance confirmed that provision had been made and that this was a driving factor in seeking around seven contractors, rather than awarding all work to one national contractor, which would likely preclude local businesses. It was suggested that the proposed process will encourage local competition.


The Cabinet Member for Finance, Performance and Risk, asked if there were any expectation that more than the £125,000 figure might be saved. The Building Maintenance Manager considered that this figure was that which was to be expected, and representative of relative contracts and current market conditions.


The Cabinet Member for Waste, Property, Environment and Development Control asked whether the proposed contract award would include the Council’s offices at Monkton Park, Chippenham. The answer was not known off hand, but Members were assured that provision could be made in contracts for this. The Programme Director for Transformation, ICT and Information Management informed Members that a phased approach to the transfer of services at Monkton Park back to the authority was in progress.


It was,




That the Director of Resources be delegated authority to award the M&E Servicing Contracts following satisfactory conclusion of the formal tendering process that is currently underway.


Corsham Mansion House & Library

To consider the attached report of the Programme Director – Transformation, ICT and Information Management – regarding the proposed disposal of Corsham Mansion House and Corsham Library.

Supporting documents:


The Cabinet Member for Waste, Property, Environment and Development Control introduced the report and summarised the recommendations made. He explained that the proposal fitted within agreed principles that the Corsham campus should be funded in part through disposal of the property, among others.


Members’ attention was drawn to the two items of late representation made by members of the public expressing their views with regard to the proposals.


The Strategic Projects and Development Manager explained the content of the report, making the following key points:


·         Corsham Mansion House and Library are recommended for disposal by off-market sale;

·         The interested party, Hadston Ltd, are willing to offer full market value for the property;

·         Building is currently not fit for purpose, and represents a substantial liability due to its current state of repair;

·         Maintenance cost estimate, excluding fees and inflation over the next 25 years is in the region of £850,000,the majority of which would occur in the earlier rather than later years;

·         The maintenance costs could increase due to the building being Listed

·         Officers are satisfied that Hadston is the only bidder that would offer full market value for residential and/or other development purposes whilst being limited to  community uses, representing sound value for money;

·         That officers would undertake appropriate investigations into the company’s funding arrangements; and

·         That it should be noted that the proposal is for an off-market sale consistent with the agreed campus principles, and not a community asset transfer.


Mrs Jane Browning spoke as a member of the public, expressing her views on the proposals as follows:


·         That concerns are raised as to the community uses to which the building would be put, and what guarantees exist in this respect;

·         That the procurement process has not been sufficiently thorough in terms of property valuations and alternative buyers;

·         That the provenance of Hadston as a company, which formed as a subsidiary as recently as February 2011, is questionable;

·         That interest from third party organisations and prospective partners using the building has been overestimated by officers and Hadston;

·         That the full range of options available to Wiltshire Council in respect of the disposal and/or use of the building has not been fully explored;

·         That proposed measures to guarantee uses by condition are not sufficiently watertight or extensive;

·         That it should be the Council and not a company who proposes Terms and Conditions of contract, which should not include a confidentiality agreement;

·         That Corsham Town Council had envisaged the building as being put to retail and/or residential use in future; and therefore,

·         That the Committee cannot make an informed decision on the matter at this time.


The Strategic Projects and Development Manager addressed a number of these points, emphasising that officers were satisfied with the processes followed and that suitable guarantees would be obtained as part of any transaction. He also noted that the a joint report submitted to the 1st February 2011 report to the Corsham Area Board by the Corsham Community Area Network & Corsham Town Council acknowledged that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.


Urgent items

Any other items of business that the Chair agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.


There were no urgent items.