This report seeks to set out the options available to the Council and make recommendation on how to proceed in respect of the future use of the Council’s freehold site in River Road Arundel
The Property, Estates and Facilities Manager presented a report setting out options available to the council in terms of how to proceed in respect of the future use of the council’s freehold site in River Road, Arundel. A range of recommendations were being presented to the Committee to consider which were explained in detail. It was confirmed that full consultation had been undertaken with Arundel Town Council, ward members and the council’s finance, planning and legal teams. All responses received had been set out in the appendices to the report.
The recommendations were requesting the committee to give approval for the council to proceed with Option 5, as set out in the Options Viability Appraisal at Appendix 1, which was to demolish the existing garages; reconstruct a single four bedroom dwelling for use as a holiday let, managed via a hosting company. The remaining recommendations were then read out to the Committee.
Members were reminded that a report on this proposal had been considered by the Committee on 12 October 2021 which had been deferred with a request that the matter be brought back to the committee considering further unspecified residential development in consultation with both local ward members and Arundel Town Council. In accordance with the committee’s instructions, residential options had been explored and had been detailed as options 6 and 6a as part of the report [Appendix 2] and both had been disregarded as being non-viable for the reasons explained in the report.
Consultation with Residential Services in order to ascertain their interest in the site for potential social housing. Due to the restricted size of the site this option had been ruled out with the full detail of this being set out in the body of the report.
The resubmitted report and the viability appraisals incorporated revised costings ensuring the conclusions allowed for the considerable price increases taking place throughout the construction supply chain. Prices had been further revised to include for infrastructure the site was prepared to receive future electric charging points. Option 5 was considered the best option for the council as it supported the council’s vision in respect of fulfilling Arun’s economic potential and in respect of encouraging the development of the district as a key tourist destination.
A range of statements were made and questions asked. The proposal to proceed with Option 5 was seen as an interesting and exciting proposal which would boost the tourist economy in Arun and was seen as the best use of the site bringing in valuable revenue.
Looking at finances, had the council considered borrowing the money for this scheme instead of taking it out of valuable reserves? It was explained that the advice received from the Section 151 Officer was that it was preferable for a borrowing requirement of this scale to use reserves rather than borrow and incur interest charges. Questions were then asked as to whether underground parking had been considered and concern was expressed that a number of residents would now be losing something they had had use of for a while and so perhaps a gesture of goodwill should be extended to them such as 12 months free parking?
Debate then focused upon the projected annual letting and if this was achievable? It was confirmed that this was achievable and the accommodation would be of very high quality with the accommodation allowing a number of households to rent the accommodation. Some of the other options such as 5 were then debated and discussed.
The recommendations were then proposed by Councillor Cooper and seconded by Mrs Cooper.
A recorded vote had been requested. The Chair confirmed that he would take an on block vote covering Recommendations (1), (2), (3), (4) and (6). Those voting for these recommendations were Councillors Mrs Cooper, Cooper, Dixon, Edwards, Roberts, Seex, Staniforth, Stanley, Walsh and Yeates (10). Councillor Northeast voted against the recommendations.
RESOLVED - That
(1) Approval be given for the Council to proceed with Option 5 as set out in the Options Viability Appraisal at appendix 1, namely, to demolish existing garages, reconstruct a single fourbedroom dwelling for use as holiday let, managed via hosting company;
(2) It delegates to the Group Head of Technical Services, in consultation with the Chair of the Economy Committee, authority to enter into a hosting agreement with a suitable identified company following procurement in accordance with contract standing orders;
(3) It delegates to the Group Head of Technical Services, in consultation with the Chair of the Economy Committee, authority to commence procurement of construction management, planning services and construction main contractor to deliver the recommended development on site, including entering contracts as required in accordance with contract standing orders; and
(4) It approves for the Council to serve notice on the remaining licensees of the existing garages to gain vacant possession of the site.
6 it delegates to the Group Head of Technical Services, in consultation with the Chair of the Economy Committee, authority to submit any necessary planning applications for the purpose of achieving recommendation 1 above.
A recorded vote was then undertaken on Recommendation (5). Those voting for this recommendation were Councillors Mrs Cooper, Cooper, Edwards, Roberts, Seex, Staniforth, Stanley, Walsh and Yeates (9). Councillors Dixon and Northeast voted against the recommendations.
The Committee then
RECOMMENDS TO FULL COUNCIL
That a supplementary estimate of £485,625 be included within the capital programme to carry out the demolition and replacement of the garages at River Road, Arundel with a holiday let property (option 5).