Agenda and minutes

Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Thursday, 17th January 2008 6.00 p.m.

Venue: Lancaster Town Hall

Contact: Elizabeth Bateson, Democratic Services - telephone (01524) 582047 or email 

No. Item


Land at Scotforth Road, Lancaster pdf icon PDF 19 KB

Report of the Corporate Director (Finance & Performance)


This meeting has been convened in order to enable the Committee to consider the draft brief relating to land at Scotforth Road as requested in Overview and Scrutiny Committee Minute 23, resolution (2) dated 31st October 2007: “That Overview and Scrutiny Committee request that the draft tender brief for the Lawson’s Bridge site appears before this committee before the Cabinet makes its decision.”

Additional documents:


The Chairman welcomed members of the public and Cabinet Members and outlined the procedure that would be followed during the meeting.  The Chairman explained that the meeting had been convened to discuss the disposal brief and that any comments should be limited to this issue.


The Corporate Director (Finance & Performance) introduced the report on Land at Scotforth Road and explained that following a request from the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 31st October 2007, the Committee had the opportunity to comment on the draft tender brief before its consideration at Cabinet on 22nd January 2008.


The Head of Property Services explained that the documents did not specify a particular use for the land and Cabinet would be making a decision as to whether to market the land in general terms.


The Chairman invited questions from Members of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee.


Questions were asked regarding the estimated value of the site, the advertising process and possible cost, the covenant on the neighbouring land, score sheet criteria and the impact assessment.  Clarification was sought regarding compliance with sustainability criteria, the example date, the possibility of retaining the wooded area, and the possibility of not having to accept the highest bid.


In response Officers confirmed that it was considered best practice to offer for sale assets that the council no longer required to deliver its agreed corporate priorities.  Officers confirmed that the value of the site had been estimated on the basis of a food store but that this would vary depending on the type of development that took place.  It was reported that the original report was couched in the terms of a possible food store development as the council had originally been approached by a food store.  Officers confirmed that the site would be advertised in the property press and local press but would not be targeted at a particular sector.  With regard to the score sheet criteria, officers confirmed that this would be adapted for different uses once the type of development was known.  The development agreement would also be adapted when the successful bid was identified and would be a means to ensure the developer adhered to the agreed criteria.


Officers confirmed that it would be possible to remove the wooded area from the area to be sold although this might remove the flexibility to understand how developers would incorporate these features in their bids.  Officers confirmed that if the site went out to tender and Cabinet decided none of the proposals met the criteria, a decision could be made not to sell the land.  Officers confirmed that any decision which Cabinet made would need to clarify the reasons for that decision.


Questions were asked regarding alternative asset sales and Members were advised that the 5 year capital program was reviewed annually as part of the budget process and took account of possible funding streams including grants, borrowing and donations. 


Concern was raised that the Budget and Performance Panel had not reviewed  ...  view the full minutes text for item 35.