Issue - meetings

Companies Governance Framework and Business Cases for Victoria Square Woking Ltd and ThamesWey Developments Ltd (Sheerwater) Supported Borrowing

Meeting: 16/11/2023 - Executive (Item 9)

9 Companies Governance Framework and Business Cases for Victoria Square Woking Ltd and ThamesWey Developments Ltd (Sheerwater) Supported Borrowing EXE23-069 pdf icon PDF 147 KB

Reporting Person – Kevin Foster

Additional documents:


The Executive received a report which sought approval of the adoption of the Companies’ Governance Framework which would provide a comprehensive, scalable set of requirements for all companies in which the Council had an interest.  The report also provided an update on the two business cases submitted to Government through the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) in respect of Victoria Square Woking Limited (VSWL) and ThamesWey Housing Limited (Sheerwater).

Following the Council’s policy decision to reform company governance in July 2022, the Council had removed Councillors as directors of Council-owned companies to avoid any conflict of interests, and had introduced the Shareholder Liaison Service.  It was noted that the Companies’ Governance Framework would strengthen the arrangements the Council and its companies had in place and followed national best practice.

Councillor Forster, Portfolio Holder for Key Projects, provided an update on the business cases which had been presented to Government regarding the Victoria Square and Sheerwater Regeneration schemes in consultation with Commissioners and advisors.  The detailed business cases were included in the Part 2 report due to commercial sensitivities.  The Portfolio Holder explained that the business cases set out the reasoning as to why it was in the broader interests of the public purse for the Government to allow the Council to continue to access Public Works Loan Board (PWLB) borrowing to enable the completion of the Victoria Square hotel and the three phases (Red, Yellow, Copper) of the Sheerwater Regeneration scheme, thereby increasing the value of the assets.

Following a question regarding timelines for implementation of the Companies’ Governance Framework, the Executive was informed that decisions on the Framework would be delegated to the Monitoring Officer and that it would be implemented on 21 November at the Shareholder Advisory Group.

Councillor Brown asked whether it would be possible to make the business plans publicly available.  The Portfolio Holder undertook to seek legal advice on the matter.

The Executive thanked Officers and Commissioners for their hard work on preparing the complex business cases.


That  (i)    the Companies’ Governance Framework be adopted in full and applied to the Council itself and to all Council owned or part owned entities, and that any Shareholder directions required to implement the Framework be delegated to the Monitoring Officer; and

          (ii)   the update on the business cases be noted.

Reason:   Adoption of the Framework will bring the companies and the Council’s governance arrangements up to a recognised standard, and in doing so protect the interests of all parties.