Agenda and minutes
Venue: Remote Meeting
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· any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests
· any prejudicial interests or
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which they may have in respect of business on this agenda.
Members were invited to declare at this point in the meeting any personal interests not included on the Register of Interests, or any prejudicial or disclosable pecuniary interests, which they might have in the business on the agenda. No interests were declared.
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It was reported that there had been two registrations to speak at the meeting under the council’s Public Participation Scheme.
Chris Barrett, Chair of York Central Action Group (YCAG) spoke on Agenda Item 4 (the Called-In Item). He urged that a detailed re-appraisal of the entire York Central project be carried out, in the light of its inclusion in the council’s Covid recovery strategy and to ensure the views of local residents were taken into account.
Mr Lindsay Cowle, a member of YCAG, also spoke on Item 4, expressing the view that the project should not proceed as it was but should be reviewed to take account of changed circumstances and to re-consider the controversial closure of Leeman Road.
To approve and sign the minutes of the last meeting, held on 3 February 2020.
Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 3 February 2020 be approved as a correct record, to be signed by the Chair at a later date.
To consider the decisions made by the Executive on 23 July 2020 in relation to the above item, which have been called in by Councillors Myers, K Taylor and Wells in accordance with the Council’s Constitution.
A cover report is attached setting out the reasons for the call-in and the remit and powers of the Customer & Corporate Services Scrutiny Management Committee (Calling-In) in relation to the call-in, together with the original report and the decisions of the Executive.
Members considered a report which set out the reasons for the call-in of the decisions made by the Executive at their meeting on 23 July 2020, in respect of the York Central Update, and the Committee’s remit and powers in relation to the call-in.
The decisions were set out in Annex 1 to the report, along with the original report to the Executive, at Annex 2. They had been called in by Cllrs Myers, K Taylor and Wells for the following reasons:-
i. The decision to commit a further £1.96m of council taxpayers’ money without any Covid economic impact review and updated risk assessment of the York Central scheme is premature;
ii. The grant terms of the Government’s £77.1m infrastructure funding should be agreed by the Executive in public rather than in private, given the magnitude of the grant and its potential to change plans for what goes on in the York Central development;
iii. The council’s business as usual approach to York Central also ignores the fact that infrastructure requirements for a Government department/House of Lords relocation may differ significantly to existing plans.
Under with the provisions of the council’s constitution and the requirements of Local Government Act 2000, the following options were available:
· A – not to refer the matter to Executive, in which case the original decisions would be confirmed, or
· B – to refer the matter back to Executive with specific recommendations.
Cllr Myers addressed the committee on behalf of the Calling-In Members, explaining in more detail the reasons for the calling-in and responding to questions put by Members. The Executive Leader, on behalf of the Executive, then responded to the calling-in reasons and to Members’ questions. Finally, questions were put to officers responsible for the report at Annex 2. From these submissions and responses, it was ascertained that:
· The Calling-in Members supported development at the York Central site but believed the decisions should not be finalised without a published risk assessment and a ‘green book’ style appraisal; this would not delay the project because the relevant information should already be available.
· The £77.1m grant from the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) was being provided to Homes England (HE) and Network Rail, with the funding committed by the council to be refunded, as confirmed in the letter from MHCLG to HE circulated to Members. Thus the council was not party to the terms of the grant, but this had not been known when the report was written.
· The up to date risk register for the project as a whole had not been appended to the Executive report because that related to specific and early stage decisions to secure funding and maintain the momentum of the project, the risks of which were set out in paragraph 42 of the report.
· A report on the overall capital programme would be brought to Executive on 1 October and the risk profile of the York Central project would be reviewed again when the next decision on the project ... view the full minutes text for item 4.