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Agenda and minutes

Venue: This meeting will be a virtual meeting and therefore will not take place in a physical location, in accordance with s78 of the Coronavirus Act 2020.

No. Item


Apologies for absence


No apologies were received.



Declarations of pecuniary interest


There were no declarations of pecuniary interest.



Minutes of the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 54 KB


The minutes of the previous meeting were agreed as a true and accurate record.



Covid 19 - Verbal update from Chief Executive


The Chief Executive was due to present this item but unfortunately had to send his apologies.


This item will be moved to a future date.



Call in : Merantun Development pdf icon PDF 90 KB

Additional documents:


The Chair introduced the call in and requested procedural advice from Louise Round, Managing Director (Monitoring Officer), who replied as follows;


The matter can only be taken to Full Council if it’s considered that the decision taken was outside the policy framework of the Council or contrary to the budget. Neither of those conditions apply therefore if after consideration this evening, if Members wish the matter to be reconsidered, the proper course of action will be to refer the item back to the sub-committee or to Cabinet.


The Chair reminded Commission Members to please conduct this investigation in a disciplined and professional manner, please don’t interject when others are speaking and all questions must go through the Chair.


Councillor Stephen Crowe was invited to speak in support of the call in.

There was a lack of openness and an inadequate consideration of alternatives and the report provided does not answer concerns raised.


Following 3 points in respect of a lack of openness;

·         Details of company’s future and past expenditure do not appear to have been presented to the Sub-Committee or filed with Companies’ house.

·         Appendix C – Contains information that should have been presented to the Sub-committee when it made its decision.

·         Based on papers presented to various meetings of the Sub-committee, it would appear, since the formation of the company three years ago, administrative costs have exceeded £1million. The majority of this spend relates to staff costs, yet no mention is made of the impact of the proposed winding up of the company on our staff.

Following 3 points in respect of inadequate consideration of alternatives;

·         Decision of the Sub-Committee is rationalised as being the result of the impact of Covid-19 and post Brexit market conditions. Other factors must surely be relevant yet these have not been presented for consideration.

·         Two alternatives are presented – ‘Develop three sites’ or ‘sell all sites’. Given that there are four sites and three wards, there surely must be more than two alternatives for consideration.

·         Return on investment reduces from 6.48% to 2.94% over a thirty year period. It does not make sense to wind up a company that will meet a community need and expected to make a positive return on investment yet this point is not analysed in the briefing paper.

For the key reasons outlined, I hope that Members will resolve to refer this decision to full Council or Cabinet for fresh reconsideration.


In response to Cllr Crowe’s points, the Director of Environment and Regeneration responded with further information;


The £2.1million spent by Merantun has been on seconded staff and other costs that are in relation to the associated consultant’s fees such as legal and planning.


The impact on staff has been considered and accounted for. There are no redundancies – those staff seconded will go back to their substantive roles.

We are not seeking to solely pin the decision on Covid or Brexit; the change in the PWLB (Public Work Loan Board) rate, which changed in October 2019 to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Budget and Business Plan 2021-25 pdf icon PDF 2 MB


The Director of Corporate Services gave an overview of the latest reports in front of the Commission Members and confirmed the Equality Impact Assessments for the savings previously considered are now included.


Further savings and financial monitoring will be provided at the 17 February meeting.



Budget and Business Plan 2021-25 Savings Information Pack

This report is provided separately and will be discussed as part of the preceding agenda item on the Business Plan Update.


Taken with item 6.



Scrutiny of the Business Plan: comments and recommendations from the scrutiny panels

To follow


This item was moved to 17 Feb 2021 to coincide with the Overview and Scrutiny Commission’s opportunity to review the Cabinet papers of 18 January and consider forwarding a reference on the budget to Cabinet.



Identify questions for the Borough Commander


Commission Members were asked to send their questions to the Scrutiny Officer to collate.



Work Programme pdf icon PDF 125 KB


The work programme was agreed.