1. That the Committee, after considering this report and receiving the views from the Southern Gateway Task and Finish Group, consider the following proposals which will be placed before Cabinet at their meeting on 3 December:
1.1 following “standstill” and dealing with any issues arising, and confirmation that WSCC have cleared their own governance processes, including call-in, that the Council select Developer A on Heads of Terms shown in Appendix 1 to deliver the Southern Gateway Masterplan regeneration project pursuant to the outcome of the Evaluation Report at Appendix 2 once matters of detail are finalised with the bidder.
2 That the Committee indicate the nature of the role they wish to play in the future monitoring of this project.
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Members considered the confidential report circulated to officers.
Mr Bell, Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration, introduced the report.
The Council’s consultants Mr Roberts of Jones Lang LeSalle and Mr Matthew of Browne Jacobson LLP were in attendance to provide advice concerning the property and legal aspects.
Mr Over presented the report and took members through the Final Tender Evaluation (Appendix 2) and the reasons for recommending preferred Developer A. The Evaluation before the Committee today differed slightly to the report being presented to Cabinet, but were solely presentational changes with the scores remaining the same. He explained the differences between the final bidders in their approach and the reasons for how each of the scores were reached. He advised that ‘Appendix 8’ referred to in paragraph 4.25 of the report should read ‘Appendix 2’. A lengthy background to the project had been included in the report due to the number of new members following the District Council election, which set out all the previous approaches and the delegated powers given to officers with full consultation with the Leader of the Council. It was important not to lose sight of the objective to deliver jobs, housing, business space and public realm. Officers would, through dialogue, be flexible when working with the chosen developer on their proposals and want to provide something that the Council can be proud of.
During the ensuing discussion Mr Over, Mr Roberts and Mr Matthew answered members’ questions. If for any reason it was not possible to reach agreement with the chosen developer on the development agreement, including the land values then a further report would be considered by members. However, dialogue meetings had concluded with the bidders to resolve any issues and the next stage would be to negotiate the terms once the bidder was chosen. To ensure a Design Panel was provided by the preferred developer if chosen, this could be made a requirement in the development agreement. With regard to zero hours contracts, the preliminary questionnaire completed by the bidders concerning equal opportunities and employment matters had been addressed. With regard to the nature of the role the Overview and Scrutiny Committee’s wished to play in the future monitoring of the project, there would be a whole consultation process designed with the developer. The Committee must clearly have a role but it should be proportionate.
Mr Bennett reminded members that the scrutiny function, under the Local Government Act 2000, was primarily to hold the executive to account by developing and reviewing council policies. Section 9F(5) of the Act specifically prohibited scrutiny committees from trying to discharge executive functions.
As requested by the Southern Gateway Task and Finish Group, it was agreed that the Committee should receive quarterly progress meetings on the project with the selected developer.
1. That Cabinet are recommended following “standstill” and dealing with any issues arising, and confirmation that West Sussex County Council have cleared their own governance processes, including call-in, that the Council select Developer A on Heads of Terms shown in Appendix 1 to deliver the Southern Gateway Masterplan regeneration project pursuant to the outcome of the Evaluation Report at Appendix 2 once matters of detail are finalised with the bidder.
2. That Cabinet are recommended to liaise and agree with the selected developer an appropriate means of consultation so as to engage and involve both Councillors and the community as detailed design and other proposals are developed.
That the Overview & Scrutiny Committee should have quarterly progress meetings on the project with the selected developer.