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To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor K Crofton.
Councillor A Alder moved, and Councillor T Stowe seconded, a motion that the Minutes of the meeting held on 22 August 2019 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman. After being put to the meeting, and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED.
RESOLVED – that the Minutes of the meeting held on 22 August 2019 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.
Exclusion of the Press and Public
To move that under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 the press and public be excluded from the meeting during discussion of Essential Reference Paper ‘B’ of Agenda Item 6 on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act of the following description:
3. “Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the Authority holding that information”).
Councillor M Goldspink moved, and Councillor C Redfern seconded, a motion that the press and public be excluded from the meeting for Minute 173 – Consideration of Acquisition, on the grounds that the matter contained exempt information as defined by paragraph 3 of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972. After being put to the meeting, and a vote taken, the motion was declared CARRIED
RESOLVED - that under Section 100(A)(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during the discussion of Minute xxx on the grounds that it would be likely to involve the disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A of the said Act (information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person, including the authority holding that information).
Members received a report asking the Committee to consider a potential acquisition. The Corporate Property Services Manager said the property detailed in the report had been identified and brought to the Financial Sustainability Board in 2018, and was then presented as an option for purchase at the meeting of the Committee on 22 August. At that meeting the Committee had agreed to explore a possible purchase subject to negotiation of better terms and the undertaking of further due diligence. The Corporate Property Services Manager updated the Committee on the outcome of negotiations, setting out the detail which as referred to in the exempt paper before the Committee.
Councillor G Williamson referred Members to the communication all Members of the Committee had received from Councillor K Crofton, setting out some reservations. He said these reservations did not take account of the improved position achieved through negotiation, including increased potential revenue. The Council faced a budget shortfall and the revenue would make a significant impact.
Councillor A Alder proposed a motion supporting a purchase of the property at the price stated in the exempt report. She said the option to acquire this property had already been discussed at length, and the Council needed to address the shortfall in its budget.
Councillor A Ward-Booth seconded the motion.
Councillor M Stevenson said the Council’s aim was to support the number of businesses. She sought, and was provided with, information on the businesses currently occupying the property as tenants.
Councillor T Stowe said he had previously objected to the asking price, but in view of the improved terms negotiated, he would support the proposal.
Councillor I Devonshire asked for clarification on the Committee’s remit regarding allocation of the funding, and the limit of such funding.
The Corporate Property Services Manager said increased funds could be sought from Council.
Councillor M Goldspink expressed concern at the length of time the property had been available, and at the prospect of future circumstances changing which could affect the anticipated income. She suggested deferring a decision in order to take account of the impact of Brexit.
Councillor G Williamson said awaiting the outcome of Brexit could mean deferral for up to six months, and that uncertainty predicted at the time of the Referendum had not materialised into market impacts.
Councillor C Redfern agreed with Councillor Goldspink, and suggested a deferral of one month.
Councillor G McAndrew said there was a need to be realistic, and one month would not make an appreciable difference. In five years’ time the Council could consider redeveloping the property, and whilst he accepted there was some uncertainty, the return per annum for the first five years was good.
Members raised further points in relation to the market context and the terms of the proposed acquisition. Councillor Ward-Booth said he understood the concerns expressed, but that legal due diligence would be the next stage and if any problems were detected then, the purchase would not proceed.
The Head of Strategic Finance and Property said negotiations ... view the full minutes text for item 173.