Issue - meetings

Sheerwater Regeneration

Meeting: 12/10/2023 - Council (Item 8)

8 Sheerwater Regeneration EXE23-065 pdf icon PDF 175 KB

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Councillor Forster, Portfolio Holder for Special Projects, introduced the recommendations of the Executive in respect of the Sheerwater Regeneration Scheme.  In July 2023, the Council had agreed that the Development Agreement with Thameswey for the delivery of the Scheme should be brought to an end, with no new phases to commence.  The Council had submitted a business case to the Government for the release of £57m from pre-approved loans from the Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) for the completion of the three phases which had started construction – Copper, Red and Yellow.

The Government had subsequently confirmed that funds could be released for the Scheme and a further report would be presented to the Executive in November on the completion of the three phases.  For the remaining areas of the regeneration scheme, a public consultation had been held to which a good response had been received.  The residents had been clear that a smaller regeneration scheme should be constructed, with fewer existing properties demolished and a greater level of refurbishment carried out.  Refurbishment of existing properties would bring 106 homes back into available accommodation.

The proposals were debated by the Council, and a concern was expressed that the business case to the Government had not first been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, and that a briefing paper had been solely provided to the Liberal Democrat Group.  It was further felt that the report before the Council did not address the controls and milestones that were to be put in place for the Scheme.

Reference was made to the public consultation which had identified the key priorities for the local community – to complete the existing phases and bring homes back into use, priorities which the Council could only achieve with the completion of the part completed phases through the PWLB loan.  In considering the consultation results, the Council was advised that, although over 500 responses had been received, the response from the Asian community had been low.  Ways of improving the response level from minority communities in future consultations would be explored.

The remaining spend on the regeneration scheme would be carefully monitored, though the decision by the Government demonstrated its confidence in the business cases submitted by the Council.  The remaining work would provide essential housing, recognising the shortage in affordable homes in the Borough. 

Following the debate, the Portfolio Holder responded to the key points raised, noting that, whilst the business case to the Government had not be brought before the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, it had been reviewed by Commissioners.  It was further emphasised that the money sought through the PWLB had been previously approved; the request to the Government was to draw down the sum of £57m of the funds following the issue of the S114 Statement.

The Mayor referred the Council to the recommendations before them and, at the request of a Member, took a named vote on recommendation (i) before seeking approval of recommendations (ii) to (v).

In accordance with Standing Order  ...  view the full minutes text for item 8

Meeting: 05/10/2023 - Executive (Item 6)

6 Sheerwater Regeneration EXE23-065 pdf icon PDF 175 KB

Reporting Person – Louise Strongitharm

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Councillor Forster, Portfolio Holder for Key Projects, introduced the report which provided an update on the Council’s funding request to Government, a summary of the results of the public consultation undertaken over the summer, and the proposals for the remainder of the Sheerwater regeneration area.  It was noted that the Council, at its meeting on 20 July 2023, had agreed that the existing Development Agreement between the Council and ThamesWey for the delivery of the Sheerwater regeneration project be brought to an end and no new phases would commence following those currently under construction.  The Portfolio Holder advised that a robust business case had been developed to support the Council’s funding request to Government of £57.7 million to complete the three phases – Copper, Red and Yellow – which were currently mid-construction.  The outcome of the funding request was due shortly.

The Executive was advised that the Council had received 507 responses to the survey on the future of the Sheerwater regeneration area, a summary of the consultation results was included in Appendix 1 to the report.  The views of local residents had been taken into consideration and it was proposed that the Council progressed the refurbishment of circa 106 homes within the regeneration area, including Woodlands Park, Hennessey Court and Spencer Close, along with refurbishment of the sheltered housing at Woodlands House.  The Portfolio Holder highlighted that retaining those 106 homes within the Housing Revenue Account (HRA) would generate additional net income to the HRA of circa £650,000 per annum from 2024/25.  It was proposed that the remaining units in the regeneration area be offered to the market.  The Council would work with the private sector and housing associations to ensure any redevelopment fitted the street scene.

Regarding the public consultation, it was highlighted that there had been low satisfaction with recreation facilities, such as Multi-Use Games Area and skate park.  Moving forward, it was suggested that this could be considered in the Council’s arrangements with housing associations and the private sector to involve the public and meet local needs.  Attention was drawn to the under-representation in the consultation of residents from an Asian background and that work was needed to understand the barriers to taking part and to ensure all residents were reached as the process progressed.  It was noted that the Portfolio Holder was arranging to visit and speak at Sheerwater Mosque to improve engagement with the Asian community.

The Executive was hopeful that the Government would agree the Council’s funding request to complete the three active construction phases, and was supportive of the proposals for the remainder of the Sheerwater regeneration area.

REcommended to Council

That  (i)    the progress on Red, Yellow and Copper phases be noted;

          (ii)   the Council retains and refurbishes circa 106 homes within the Sheerwater Regeneration area as set out in Section 5 of the report;

          (iii)  the costs of refurbishment, estimated at £2.9 million, be covered by capital receipts and Local Authority Housing Funding (if appropriate);

          (iv)  the Strategic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6