Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Economic Development
To consider the attached report.
Contact Officer: Teresa Lane (01296) 585006
That the draft Business Plan for Aylesbury Vale Estates (AVE) for 2019/2022 be approved. (A copy was attached to the confidential part of the agenda).
(b) Reason(s) for Decision(s)
The Council’s consent is required to the Business Plan in accordance with the agreement with AVE.
(c) Alternative Options Considered
Not to approve the Business Plan. Representatives of AVE were present at the Cabinet meeting to respond to questions from Cabinet Members.
(d) Relevant Scrutiny Committee
Economy and Business Development. That Committee had considered the draft Business Plan at its meeting on 10 December, 2018 and the Cabinet report included the Committee’s comments. The Committee Chairman could not be present at the Cabinet meeting due to another commitment. Cabinet Members pursued the comments made by the Committee with the AVE representatives and were satisfied with the response.
(e) Conflicts of Interest / Dispensation(s)
As a member of the AVE Board, Councillor Mrs Ward declared a prejudicial interest in this item and left the meeting whilst the matter was discussed.
Consideration was given to a report on the Aylesbury Vale Estates (AVE) draft business plan for 2019/2022, submitted also to the Economy and Business Development Scrutiny Committee on 10 December, 2018. The Scrutiny Committee had had an opportunity to question the asset managers on various aspects of the plan. (A copy of the draft business plan had been circulated in full as part of the confidential Cabinet agenda). Representatives of the asset managers also attended this meeting.
Whilst the Scrutiny Committee had been encouraged that AVE was effective at collecting rents, and that dividends were expected to be returned to the Council, concern had been expressed about proposed site disposals and the business plan’s over reliance on these disposal receipts within the financial model. Members had also felt that disposals might be due to the demand for dividends to be paid, and that once a site had been sold, it was permanently off the portfolio. The Committee had hoped that there would be more ideas on how Hale Leys might adapt to the difficulties currently being experienced in the retail market.
Cabinet Members raised these issues with the asset managers who responded that disposals in the main were not strategic sites. The objective was to create a diversity of new development. The asset managers were fully cognative of the issues facing high streets across the country. and were doing all they could to address these.
That the draft Aylesbury Vale Estates business plan for 2019/2022 be approved.
NOTE: As a member of the AVE board, Councillor Mrs Ward declared a prejudicial interest in the above item and left the meeting whilst it was under discussion.