The Cabinet had before it a * report of the Corporate Manager for Public Health, Regulation and Housing explaining that following the pending completion of Phase 1 design and planning contracts for the construction of 14 Council properties, using a direct award framework, consideration is required for the Phase 2 construction and installation contract for each scheme.
The Cabinet Member for Housing and Property Services provided a response to questions raised in Public Question Time: With regard to whether officers had conducted their own and comprehensive due diligence check on Zed Pods Limited: He replied that the Council confirmed that as usual, in the course of the procurement process, relevant checks were made of companies which were successfully appointed to the panel of suppliers and of the recommended contractors.
Supplier due diligence was just part of the consideration. Once this had been satisfied then there were technical, quality and value for money strands to the SWPA tender evaluation and award process. Further information on the external, independent accreditation of the build quality of these proposals was provided in Section 3 of the report alongside additional information on the environmental and sustainability credentials of the proposed schemes as set out in Annex B.
With regard to why MDDC officers were not being open and transparent about the contract costs he replied that: the Council determines whether or not matters are publicly available in accordance with the law. This included provision to protect commercial sensitive information.
In response to the questions from Hannah Kearns: the cabinet Member replied that:
· The statement in page 442 of the papers referred to the redundancy of each site in the widest context. Whilst it was acknowledged that the occupancy of the garages at St Andrew’s was higher than the exceptionally low usage at Shapland Place, in bringing those sites forward for redevelopment the Council had taken into account several other asset management and cost considerations; these include the cost of modernisation and repairs, the presence of asbestos containing materials at each site and requirements for new surfacing and drainage improvements balanced against a low overall garage rent income and demand.
· All the garage tenants signed-up to a rental agreement that set out a notice period and terms for both parties. I can confirm all appropriate notice was given by the Council as required. As part of this process we would also have provided additional information if desired on other garages still available for affordable rent within the town.
· In essence, what the Council is seeking to do at these locations is to replace limited life-span, low value assets with much higher value long-term properties that will provide an increased rental income and, most importantly, provide much needed additional social housing at for each town.
He then outlined the contents of the report stating that the project had been welcomed by the previous administration and that the authority was now in a position to move the project forward with the award winning Zed Pod company providing excellent designed and carbon neutral properties. The company had been accredited by other local authorities and the public had applauded the schemes.
Consideration was given to:
· Both sites would be for social rent and would be held for secure tenure allocations through the Devon Home Choice system including for those tenants with adapted property needs;
· Checks and balances had been undertaken ;
· The access to Shapland Close had been agreed;
· The versatile project would deliver social housing for residents of Mid Devon;
· Payment terms;
· Whether a local approach was required with a local competitive process;
· The other company that had been considered and the fact that they could not deliver at this stage.
Subject to planning permission being
granted for the proposed social rented housing development at St
Andrews Estate Cullompton and Shapland Place Tiverton:
(a) Zed Pods Limited’s bid for the Phase 2 works be accepted; and
(b) the St Andrews development include an in-house managed and community based competition for public artwork.
2. Delegated authority be granted to the S151 Officer (in consultation with the Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Housing and Property Services) to complete the associated Phase 2 contracts.
(Proposed by Cllr R B Evans and seconded by Cllr D J Knowles)
Reason for the decision – the homes will support the delivery of specific objectives in the Housing Strategy 2021-25.
Note: *Report previously circulated, copy attached to minutes.